Echinacea Fails the Test

by Diane Lofshult on Nov 01, 2005

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.

Fitness Journal, Volume 2, Issue 10

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© 2005 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Diane Lofshult

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach, California. Reach her at