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Echinacea

Echinacea commonly called the Purple coneflowers, is a genus of nine species of herbaceous plants in the Family Asteraceae. All are strictly native to eastern and central North America. The aboveground parts of the plant and roots of echinacea are used fresh or dried to make teas, squeezed (expressed) juice, extracts, or preparations for external use.

Echinacea is popularly believed to be an immunostimulator, stimulating the body's immune system and warding off infections, particularly the common cold. [read more]

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Information about Echinacea

[Read more] about dosage recommendations for various herbs.

Alcohol-based or dry

Leading herbalists claim that many studies do not distinguish between alcohol-based echinacea tinctures, which retain potency for up to seven years after production, and capsules containing the dried herb, which lose their efficacy over time.[citation needed] Capsules not only lose strength, but must be digested in the stomach while alcohol tinctures enter the lymphatic system through the tongue.

Frequency of administration

Proponents of echinacea assert that it is not a "one-dose" treatment, and that in order to work effectively, a dose should be taken at the very first sign of a cold symptom. Subsequent doses must be taken every two to four hours after the first dose, including every two to four hours during the overnight sleeping period, until the cold symptoms have disappeared (generally within 24 hours.) The scientific studies stated above appear to disagree with these claims as ad hoc rationalising; if the cold doesn't go away when expected, the patient can always be blamed for not following the strict regimen, and the product is never to blame. This is known as subjective validation.

Contraindications

Echinacea herbals should not be taken by persons with progressive systemic and auto-immune disorders such as tuberculosis, leicosis, connective tissue disorders, collagenosis, and related diseases such as lupus erythematosus. Its use in AIDS or against opportunistic infections in AIDS patients is controversial. It should not be used with other known hepatotoxic drugs such as anabolic steroids, amiodarone (Pacerone® or Cordarone®), methotrexate, or ketoconazole (Nizoral®).

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