Have a cold? Echinacea might help!
Echinacea typically grows in the prairie region of U.S. and Canada. Echinacea is rooted in the Greek word, “Echinos,” meaning “hedgehog,” for its spiky appearance of the cone at the centre of the flower. It is a perennial plant
What is Echinacea?
Echinacea typically grows in the prairie region of U.S. and Canada. Echinacea is rooted in the Greek word, “Echinos,” meaning “hedgehog,”for its spiky appearance of the cone at the centre of the flower. It is a perennial plant (able to live for a long period of time, over 2 years) often referred to as “purple coneflower,” for its distinctive reddish-purple petals of the flower.
Historically, it has been used for centuries by the Native people in North America as a pain reliver, a treatment for toothaches, colds, sore throats and coughs. It was also used as an antidote for various forms of poisonings including snake and insect bites. Topically this plant was used to dress wounds and treat skin infections.
Nowadays, Echinacea is one of North America’s most popular herbal products, used to prevent and treat the common cold, influenza, urinary tract infections and other infections. There are nine species of Echinacea in North America, yet most commercially available Echinacea products primarily come from the species Echinacea Purpurea. This is partly because other species of Echinacea have been listed as endangered species, so specific species are harvested for the sustainability purposes.
Health Effects of Echinacea?
Mainly four phytochemical compounds are thought to be responsible for biological activity of Echinacea: alkamides, glycoproteins, polysaccharides, and caffeic acids. However, specific pathways and mechanism of action of these constituents are still being fully explored to this date.
Echinacea products available on the market differ greatly because different types (species) and parts (herb, root or both) of the plant are used for preparations that results in different composition of its constituents. For instance, aerial (herb top) part of Echinacea Purpurea is rich in polysaccharides and glycoproteins whereas its root part is richer in alkamides.
Various biologically active compounds in Echinacea have been found to have immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory effects which may enhance our innate immune system against pathogenic infections. For this reason, Echinacea extract is suggested to be suitable for various infectious diseases including common colds, upper and lower respiratory infections, wound infections and chronic pelvic infections.
Several studies show that Echinacea reduced the severity of Upper Respiratory Infection symptoms including coughing, sneezing, and sore throat. There is also evidence that supports the use of Echinacea for urinary tract infection.
Good to Know?
Reported adverse effects to Echinacea include nausea, dizziness and abdominal upset but they have been generally uncommon and minor. Some children have shown to develop rashes which may have been caused by an allergic reaction. It is advised that people with atopy (a genetic tendency toward allergic reactions) may be more likely to have an allergic reaction towards Echinacea. Current evidence suggests that the risk of interactions between Echinacea supplements and most medications is low.
Nutridom Echinacea contains highly concentrated Echinacea extracts (10 times concentrated) from the species Echinacea Purpurea and contains both the aerial parts (herb top)and root of the herb for optimal effectiveness. 1 capsule of Nutridom Echinacea is recommended for adults at the first sight of infection.
Barrett, B., Brown, R., Rakel, D., Mundt, M., Bone, K., Barlow, S., & Ewers, T. (2010). Echinacea for treating the common cold: a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine, 153(12), 769-777.
Caruso, T. J., & Gwaltney Jr, J. M. (2005). Treatment of the common cold with echinacea: a structured review. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 40(6), 807-810.
Kligler, B. (2003). Echinacea. Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Linde, K., Barrett, B.,Bauer, R., Melchart, D., & Woelkart, K. (2006). Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (1).
National Institute of Health. (2016, November 30). Echinacea. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/echinacea/ataglance.htm
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