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Echinacea is one of the herbal plants which are known as an immune system stimulants. Some of the other names for this plant are Kansas snakeroot,comb flower, scurvy root, black Sampson, hedgehog, snakeroot, American coneflower, Indian head, and narrow-leaved purple flower. It contains manychemicals, some of which stimulate the immune system, while others are known tokill bacteria. Taken orally, it helps in the treatment of a common cold, while local use healsburns and wounds. There is no regulation about the manufacturing of herbaland other health supplements. Moreover, the effects and the potential risks ofEchinacea have not been tested by FDA, so the best thing to do is buy it from a reliable source. As with the use of other herbal supplements, it isadvisable to consult a GP, pharmacist or an herbalist before taking Echinacea.

People suffering fromtuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, autoimmune conditions, multiple sclerosis, disordersof collagen and white blood cells should not takeEchinacea. Persons allergic to plants or any kind of medication shouldseek doctor’s advice before they use Echinacea, while special caution isrecommended to pregnant and breast-feeding women since it is not established ifEchinacea bears potential risks for unborn babies or infants. Children shouldnot be given any herbal supplements before talking to the doctor. Further thesupplement is not recommended for people taking the immunosuppressant (medicinethat interfere with the function of the immune system), hepatoxic medication(which may induce liver damage) and those who are about to undergo anesthesia.

Like other herbal supplements,Echinacea comes in the form of pills, tinctures, teas, topical formulations andothers, while topical form is intended only for external use. Echinaceapills are taken with the full glass of water, whereas liquid forms come withthe dropper that enables the application of prescribed doses. If usingEchinacea to treat a common cold, it should be taken as soon as the first symptomsoccur, and the treatment lasting for 3 weeks should be followed by one weekwithout Echinacea. Simultaneous use of different formulations of Echinaceais not recommended since it may lead to an overdose though there is noinformation about the symptoms of Echinacea overdose or what to do in case ofa missed dose. Allergic reactions, including hives, swelling of thetongue, lips or face, heavy breathing or closing of the throat should bereported to the doctor. Other side effects includes nausea, vomiting or fever but these are quite uncommon.

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