Echinacea Fails the Test
The herbal supplement echinacea has been gaining favor among health-conscious people who prefer a “natural” remedy for those pesky symptoms of the common cold. But does this herbal alternative really make the grade?
No way, say researchers reporting in the July 28, 2005, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, who examined whether the popular supplement was effective in preventing or treating a rhinovirus infection. After testing several different echinacea formulas on a total of 437 volunteers, the researchers found that “there were no statistically significant effects of the three echinacea extracts on rates of infection or severity of symptoms.” Moreover, they concluded that controls given a placebo fared no better or worse than those who took the supplement.
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