Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is a perennial herb native to North America and extensively cultivated in the U.S. and Europe. The powdered extract is prepared from the dried root and leaves of the plant, which contain active components such as phenols, cichoric acid, and alkylamides. Echinacea purpurea has been traditionally used for immune support.
Echinacea has been used to fight against colds and flu due to its immune stimulatory effects.1,2 It has been suggested that Echinacea may reduce the duration and occurrence of the common cold.3 Echinacea may also positively impact immune function and response.4,5 Furthermore, Echinacea may reduce the incidence of vaginal yeast infection and upper respiratory tract infection.2,6
Excessive simultaneous consumption of caffeine and Echinacea may cause side effects such as: jitteriness, headaches, and accelerated heartbeat.7
Echinacea. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. NIH. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/echinacea/ataglance.htm Accessed in July 2015. Accessed in July 20152.
Echinacea. MelinePlus. NIH. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/981.html Accessed in July 20153.
Shah SA, Sander S, White CM, Rinaldi M, Coleman CI. Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2007 Jul;7(7):473-80. Review. Erratum in: Lancet Infect Dis. 2007 Sep;7(9):580. PubMed PMID: 17597571.
See DM, Broumand N, Sahl L, Tilles JG. In vitro effects of echinacea and ginseng on natural killer and antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity in healthy subjects and chronic fatigue syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients. Immunopharmacology. 1997 Jan;35(3):229-35. PubMed PMID: 9043936.
Brush J, Mendenhall E, Guggenheim A, Chan T, Connelly E, Soumyanath A, Buresh R, Barrett R, Zwickey H. The effect of Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra on CD69 expression and immune cell activation in humans. Phytother Res. 2006 Aug;20(8):687-95. PubMed PMID: 16807880.
Hall H, Fahlman MM, Engels HJ. Echinacea purpurea and mucosal immunity. Int J Sports Med. 2007 Sep;28(9):792-7. Epub 2007 Apr 13. PubMed PMID: 17436202.
Izzo AA, Ernst E. Interactions between herbal medicines and prescribed drugs: an updated systematic review. Drugs. 2009;69(13):1777-98. Review. PubMed PMID: 19719333.