A new study conducted by experts from Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre has uncovered evidence to suggest that echinacea really does help to prevent colds.
Researchers found that taking three doses daily of the herbal remedy for four months greatly reduced the number of colds in study participants.
Furthermore, the duration of the common illness suffered by patients decreased by an average of 26%.
The herbal remedy was found to be particularly beneficial to individuals who were more prone to colds. Researchers reported a 60% reduction in the number of recurrent colds suffered by those with weak immune systems or a history of catching several cold viruses a year.
Echinacea is extracted from the Eastern Purple Coneflower and has been used for hundreds of years as a remedy to help fight common infections and viruses.
It was first used among the Native Americans but by the early 1800s had become a popular herbal remedy among European settlers in the USA. Soon it became commonly used in Europe as well, but its popularity soared in the 1920s after research was carried out in Germany.
Despite numerous studies, so far there has been limited evidence to prove whether echinacea really can help to treat and prevent colds.
In fact, a recent study by the American College of Physicians found that the herbal remedy had no significant impact on the length and severity of cold symptoms at all.
However, this new clinical study sheds a completely new light on the remedy and its effects. As University of London researcher Dr Margaret Richie explains: “It indicates that echinacea supports low-running immune systems but does not overstimulate well-supported ones.”
Safe and easy to take in supplement form, Echinacea can be purchased from most health stores. However, if you are new to herbal remedies, you may benefit from making an appointment with a herbalist to ensure you get the best treatment for your needs.