Have a Cold? Try Echinacea, but use it Correctly

Echinacea is an amazing herb and after being touted as THE herb for the common cold was found on every health food store and pharmacy shelf. The problem is the quality of these products is widely variable and the recommended dosages are broad, some of them being ineffectual. The Cochrane Review Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold says,

Most consumers and physicians are not aware that products available under the term Echinacea differ appreciably in their composition, mainly due to the use of variable plant material, extraction methods and the addition of other components.

 The end result is the miracle cold-herb was tried by many people and failed, too often.
Here are some guidelines for using echinacea properly from Echinacea spp.: A Monograph & What’s New 
  • Use Echinacea purpurea alone or in combination with Echiniacea augustifolia
  • Liquid may be preferable as there is come evidence that actual contact with the oral mucosa is more effective
  • Francis Brinker noted that Echinacea trials that used liquid extracts showed positive outcomes in upper respiratory infections
  • Start the dosing regime at the very -first- signs of sickness
  • Use a loading dose of 5 mL (capsule 1500 mg), followed by 2.5 mL (500-750 mg) every 1-2 hours  for the first day
  • The liquid dose is based on a 1:2 fresh root extract
  • For the next 2 days use 5 mL (1500mg) three times a day
  • For children use Clark’s rule to calculate the dose
Other interesting articles concerning Echinacea, it’s other uses and how to take care of yourself when you have a cold or flu:

Echinacea: From Native American Panacea to Modern Phytopharmaceutical

Echinacea: Reclaiming this powerful plant

An Herbalist’s View: Approaches to Colds and Flus By7Song


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