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Selective science and low dose echinacea studies

A study, which was carried out in 2005, claimed that Echinacea is not a good cure for common cold. This claim has affected the attitudes of the rest of the world towards this herb, causing Echinacea sales to drop significantly, from 6.1 million to 4.9 million. Nevertheless, numerous claims displayed here were unfounded.

The Study against Echinacea

Basically, the study covered several areas of this plant’s claimed effectiveness. First of all, dosage was taken into consideration. However, people who were involved in the testing were given only one third of the normal dosage found in Echinacea extracts, leading to a failure in obtaining precise and genuine results.

Sick college students were given only 1.5 ml extracts of this herb, three times a day. The World Health Organization recommends 3 grams of dry Echinacea root for a successful treatment of common cold. Yet, 1.5ml of extract stands only for about 300mg of dry root being 300% less than the recommended dosage.

Moreover, the extracts used in the study were created by the same medical facility which conducted the very research. Later on, many other pharmaceutical companies claimed that these extracts lacked numerous qualities which Echinacea regularly has.

Ineffectiveness or Sabotage?

Numerous parts of this study seemed more than suspicious. Nevertheless, the study managed to sabotage the sales of Echinacea quite severely. The students which were tested all had their immune systems compromised due to an existing sickness, making it hard for the extract to have any preventive effect.  So, in order for the research to be more complete and less bias, it could be done on healthy students who are exposed to dangerous microorganisms daily, regardless of their strong immune systems.

Also, we need to bear in mind that there are many different types of Echinacea extracts, varying in chemical composition and, thereby, effectiveness. Namely, some of these products are weaker while some are stronger. Alternatively, some lack alkylamides which stimulate one’s immune system to be stronger.

All in all, we should not focus our whole attention to empty and unfounded claims, especially not after we have been exposed to the positive effect of Echinacea time and time again. Surely, there is a greater game of competition and industry behind this and many other tests of this type. Regardless, we should stay smart and focused on nature, even though science may try to surpass it. Echinacea truly does reduce the symptoms of cold and flu, so feel free to give it a try.

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