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Does echinacea help prevent or treat colds?

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Studies have had mixed results. Extracts of echinacea do seem to have an effect on the immune system, your body's defense against germs. Research shows it increases the number of white blood cells, which fight infections. A review of more than a dozen studies, published in 2014, found the herbal remedy had a very slight benefit in preventing colds.

Two studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine did not find any help for a cold from echinacea in either children or adults, though.

From: Echinacea for the Common Cold WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: McIntyre, M. , 2005. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Herbs at a Glance: Echinacea." American Lung Association: "Cold and Flu Guidelines: The Common Cold." , February 2005. Medline Plus: "Flu." Medline Plus: "Common Cold." Karsch-Völk M. , February 2014. 






Journal of Alternative and Complementary MedicineHarvard Health LetterCochrane Database of Systemic Reviews

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on January 20, 2017

SOURCES: McIntyre, M. , 2005. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Herbs at a Glance: Echinacea." American Lung Association: "Cold and Flu Guidelines: The Common Cold." , February 2005. Medline Plus: "Flu." Medline Plus: "Common Cold." Karsch-Völk M. , February 2014. 






Journal of Alternative and Complementary MedicineHarvard Health LetterCochrane Database of Systemic Reviews

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on January 20, 2017

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What are possible reasons for conflicting results of studies on echinacea?

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