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Scientific Name:
Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida
Family Name:
Asteraceae/Compositae
Common Name:
echinacea
Evidence for Efficacy (Human Data)
Observational Studies/Case Reports
Although SAMITAL®, with three standardized extracts including Echinacea angustifolia, was deemed safe after it was administered to 18 children who were also receiving anticancer therapy to prevent or treat oral mucositis, it is not absorbed in the bloodstream and has low palatability. Massano 2022
Frequency of immunostimulatory herbal supplement use among patients with autoimmune skin disease [No abstract] Ravishankar 2022
Fifty-nine survey participants in the UK, including practitioners, indicated a profound effect of the pandemic on their herbal medicine practice, including prescribing a wide range of medicinal herbs, mainly Echinacea spp. and Glycyrrhiza glabra. Frost 2021
Oral echinacea for prevention of relapses of molluscum contagiosum. [No abstract] Veraldi 2020
A pharmacy-based, non-interventional, multicenter, open, uncontrolled study (n=955) showed positive benefit/risk ratio of a mixed extract of Baptisiae tinctoriae radix, Echinaceae pallidae/purpureae radix, and Thujae occidentalis herba as a treatment of common cold symptoms. Henneicke-von Zepelin 2019
Topical application for 2 weeks of both water-in-oil and oil-in-water emulsions containing Echinacea purpurea root extract, as well as shampoo for 4 weeks, significantly reduced objective and subjective parameters in adults suffering from acute or chronic pruritus. Kilic 2018
In a 6-month observational study with 50 patients with recurrent minor oral aphthous, administration of Echinacea in tablets for five weeks significantly decreasde the number of ulcer lesions and pain intensity and positively affected complete improvement and recurrence compared to control. Khozeimeh 2018
Oral Echinacea exerts complete clearing of multiple facial molluscum contagiosum in a young black patient. [No abstract] Dattola 2018
Echinacea was one of the most frequently used plant food/botanical supplements in the Netherlands. Jeurissen 2017
Clinical notes from the University of Minnesota Clinical Data Repository were used to assess patients' usage status of ten most commonly consumed supplements, including echinacea. Fan 2016
A combination of methionine, zinc, Echinacea angustifolia and E. purpurea, probiotics, and antioxidants was associated with lesion regression in women with mild cervical dysplasia associated and human papillomavirus infection. Agnello 2016
Knowledge of common herbs such as echinacea was found to be limited among medical students in Saudi Arabia. Alzahrani 2016
No increased risk of malformations or adverse pregnancy outcomes was associated with taking echinacea during pregnancy, based on the survey data from 363 Norwegian women (out of the total of 68,522 women surveyed). Heitmann 2016
Clinical data on patient(s) with herpes-associated erythema multiforme managed by long-term valacyclovir therapy and immunostimulation with Echinacea are presented. Staikuniene 2015
Reporting echinacea use was found to be associated with higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure among US Midwestern adults. McCarty 2013
Among adult visitors of several medical offices who used herbal remedies, echinacea was the fifth most common botanical, used by 18% of the patients, in Norway. Djuv 2013
Canadian parents were surveyed for their children's use of natural health products (NHPs), including echinacea. Godwin 2013
Echinacea was the most commonly used herb, according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, among children and adolescents in the United States. Wu 2013
A series of cases, suggesting efficacy of a combination of standardized extracts from Vaccinium myrtillus and Macleaya cordata fruits and Echinacea angustifolia roots (SAMITAL) for prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced gastrointestinal mucositis in pediatric patients, is presented. Bertoglio 2012
Echinacea was one of the most commonly used herbs among pregnant women in Norway. Nordeng 2011
Echinacea was one of the most commonly used herbal remedies by white, Hispanic and non-Hispanic long-term breast cancer survivors in Los Angeles. Ma 2011
In a cohort of African American breast cancer survivors, 68.2% were found to be users of herbal and/or multivitamin supplements, of which echinacea was one of the top three (after garlic and gingko), used by 9.4%. Bright-Gbebry 2011
Echinacea was one of the herbs most frequently used by adult dental patients at a USA dental school clinic. Abebe 2011
Echinacea was among the most frequently taken herbs by pregnant women in Italy, as per the results of the survey of 392 women. Cuzzolin 2010
Introduction of antihomotoxic preparations containing Echinacea compositum C promoted the efficacy raising and the shortening of the treatment duration of early inflammatory complications like anastomositis and abdominal cavity infiltrate. [Article in Ukrainian] [No authors listed] 2009
The biological effects observed after administration of Echinacea purpurea preparation suggest that it may be beneficial for the prevention of adverse health effects in workers exposed to ionising radiation. Joksiæ 2009
A study on herbal supplement use and blood lead levels of United States adults revealed that use of specific herbal dietary supplements including echinacea, ginkgo & St. John's wort, is associated with higher blood lead levels among women. Buettner 2009
The choice of an echinacea product for a clinical trial must consider the impact of immune enhancement, the specific viral infection targeted, and the potential to reduce symptoms via antiinflammatory activity. Vohra 2009
Of 657 patients who received prescription medications, 101 (15.4%) reported use of herbal and dietary supplements, and of those 21.8% were using echinacea, which was higher than any of the other herbal medicines reported. No adverse drug events were observed. Graham 2008
It is found that under real life conditions of Echinacea consumption, the virus-induced stimulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines can be effectively reversed or alleviated. Sharma 2008
[Echinacea-induced severe acute hepatitis with features of cholestatic autoimmune hepatitis.] Kocaman 2008
[Echinacea's immune effects-possibilities and pitfalls-two cases.] Cohrssen 2006
In 400 postpartum women, 36% of the women reported herbal use during their pregnancy & Echinacea was the best known herb among both groups of women who had used herbal drugs in pregnancy and those not. Nordeng 2005
A review on new considerations in the treatment and prevention of rhinovirus infections suggests there is no clear evidence that treatment with zinc or echinacea have any role in these infections. Turner 2005
Structured review on treatment of the common cold with echinacea suggests that the possible therapeutic effectiveness of echinacea in the treatment of colds has not been established. Caruso 2005
Assessing the extent of nonvitamin, nonmineral supplement (NVNM) use among Turkish university students revealed that the 3 most frequently used NVNM supplements were echinacea, ginseng & gingko biloba (38.6%,36.4% & 32.8%, respectively). Ayranci 2005
Among 894 completed surveys it was shown that overall, 3.5% of pediatric surgical patients had been given herbal or homeopathic medications in the 2 weeks prior to surgery & the most prevalent substance given to children presenting for elective surgery was Echinacea. Everett 2005
A survey carried out to find the differences in herbal and dietary supplements use in the Hispanic & non-Hispanic pediatric populations showed that the most commonly used supplements were herbal teas (56%) and echinacea (14%). Guenther 2005
Studies show echinacea is not beneficial. [No authors listed] 2005
Survey of potential health risks of complementary alternative medicines in 318 cancer patients showed health warning issued to 20 patients & most warnings concerned echinacea in patients with lymphoma. Werneke 2004
[Echinacea fails to show efficacy in treating colds in a pediatric population.]. Le Tourneau 2004
A review on exercise, nutrition and immune function reveals a lack of convincing research evidence that 'immune-boosting' supplements, including high doses of antioxidant vitamins, glutamine, zinc, probiotics and Echinacea, prevent exercise-induced immune impairment. Gleeson 2004
[Can an herbal preparation of echinacea, propolis, and vitamin C reduce respiratory illnesses in children?]. Sangvai 2004
[Echinacea, colds, and children--finally, a good study.]. [No authors listed] 2004
[Echinacea for treating colds in children.]. Kim 2004
[Echinacea for treating colds in children.]. Firenzuoli 2004
[Does an echinacea preparation prevent colds? The debate continues.]. [No authors listed] 2004
[Echinacea no cure-all for kids.]. Washam 2004
3 patients whose autoimmune disease onset and/or flares correlated with ingestion of herbal supplements with proven immunostimulatory effects like Echinacea and the alga Spirulina platensis were described. Lee 2004
The adjuvant treatment with Kan Jang which contain standardized Andrographis paniculata, was found to more effective than Immunal, a preparation containing Echinacea purpurea extract, in 130 children with uncomplicated common colds. Spasov 2004
Analysis on herbal supplement use among 11,888 non-Hispanic white, 2866 non-Hispanic black, 3035 Hispanic,& 599 non-Hispanic other women revealed that nearly 1/6th of US women took at least 1 herbal supplement including use of Echinacea, Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, or St.John's wort. Yu 2004
Administration of Chizukit, an herbal preparation containing 3 drugs including 50 mg/mL of Echinacea in 430 children, aged 1 to 5 years showed preventive effect on the incidence of respiratory tract infections. Cohen 2004
Among 83% of the surveys returned from parents of 1,100 consecutive pediatric surgical patients, it was found that an average of 2.4 different herbal medicines were in use by each child, and the most common herbal medications were echinacea, chamomile & aloe. Noonan 2004
Among 2,186 patients undergoing elective surgery, 57% of respondents admitted to using herbal medicine at some point in their life, eg, echinacea [48%], aloe vera [30%], ginseng [28%], garlic [27%], and ginkgo biloba [22%] were the most common. Adusumilli 2004
A survey among 400 Norwegian women related to the use of herbal drugs in pregnancy revealed that echinacea, iron-rich herbs, ginger, chamomile and cranberry were the most commonly used herbs. Nordeng 2004
Among 601 children presenting consecutively for ambulatory surgery it was identified that 6.4% of children were currently taking an herbal preparation; while a further 10.1% had taken an herbal medicine in the past & Echinacea and arnica were the commonest used herbal remedies. Crowe 2004
Determination of the prevalence & patterns of use of herbal medicines and vitamin supplements by patients in preoperative period showed that the prevalence of herbal medicine use was 14.3% among 1102 questionnaires & the 5 five most popular herbs includes Garlic, Gingko, Echinacea. Grauer 2004
Survey of 115 surgery patients' intake of herbal preparations and dietary supplements revealed that 50.4% had taken or still took herbal medicine, and the frequently used Traditional medicines were fish oil, ginkgo, Echinacea, Co-Q10, garlic, and hip. [Article in Danish] Vaabengaard 2003
Among 575 ambulatory surgery patients coming to a busy Canadian surgical day care unit, 45 different identifiable herbs were being taken in total, with echinacea being the most common. Lennox 2003
Determination of use of botanical dietary supplements in peri- & postmenopausal women between the ages of 40 & 60 years at University of Illinois at Chicago, showed that commonly used botanicals included soy (42%), green tea (34.68%), Echinacea (15.44%) & St. John's wort (7.34%). Mahady 2003
[Critical hypokalemic renal tubular acidosis due to Sjogren's syndrome: association with the purported immune stimulant echinacea.]. Logan 2003
In an investigation among 500 randomly selected nurses about knowledge and use of 5 common herbal products including ginkgo and echinacea, 30% nurses addressed the frequency of use, purpose, side effects & interactions of them. Sand-Jecklin 2003
Numerous clinical trials carried out on echinacea preparations show that the extracts shorten the duration and severity of colds and other upper respiratory infections when given as soon as symptoms become evident. Block 2003
A survey of 2723 patients presenting for anaesthesia to determine the extent of use of herbal medicines revealed that the most commonly used compounds among 4.8% patients were, in descending order, garlic, ginseng, ginkgo, St John's wort and echinacea. Skinner 2002
Review on respiratory & allergic diseases reveals that patient with upper respiratory tract infections can expect a shorter duration of symptoms by taking high doses of vitamin C with zinc supplements and adding an herb such as echinacea or Andrographis. Jaber 2002
A survey of adult general medicine patients at a major Canadian teaching hospital on patterns of use and patients' attitudes toward complementary medications revealed that most commonly reported products used were echinacea, garlic pills and ginseng. Cook 2002
Determination of attitudes towards the use of complementary therapies by students of Nursing, Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, using a self-administered questionnaire indicates that vitamin C, multivitamins, B group vitamins, garlic, iron and Echinacea are the commonly used products. Wilkinson 2001
Dietary supplement (DS) survey of 70 pharmacists in their personal and professional practices showed that 52.9% of them reported taking DS including echinacea, zinc, and chromium picolinate while fewer than half of pharmacists stated that they have recommended a DS to a patient. Howard 2001
Assessment of use of nonvitamin, nonmineral (NVNM) dietary supplements among 272 college students indicates that 48.5% took an NVNM supplement & most frequently used products were echinacea, ginseng, & St John's wort. 11 of 19 participants reported some adverse reactions to NVNM. Newberry 2001
Among 100 adult cancer patients in a private nonprofit South Florida hospital, with mean age of 59 years, 80% reported using some type of complementary & alternative medicine and 54% took herbal products including green tea, echinacea, grape seed extract, and milk thistle. Bernstein 2001
Of 150 surveys completed at an academic medical center, 20 women (13%) used dietary supplements during pregnancy to relieve nausea and vomiting. The most common products were echinacea (4/45, 8.9%), pregnancy tea (4/45, 8.9%), and ginger (3/45, 6.7%). Tsui 2001
Of 502 diabetic subjects, 78% were taking prescribed medications & 31% were taking alternative medications in which garlic, echinacea, herbal mixtures, glucosamine were the most commonly used alternative medications. Ryan 2001
An overview of the seven most common medicinal herbs (garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, Echinacea, chamomile, valerian, and feverfew) with implications for the school nurse is discussed. Dockrell 2000
Echinacea vs. the common cold. [No authors listed] 2000
[A strategic call to utilize Echinacea-garlic in flu-cold seasons]. Abdullah 2000
From pharmacological data it has been assumed that Echinacea purpurea L. Moench (purple coneflower) pressed juice preparations stimulate the innate immune system and increase the resistance to common colds. Allergic reactions, mainly reversible skin reactions, may occur [Article in German] Bauer 1999
Echinacea for upper respiratory infections. Lord 1999
Echinacea for the prevention of upper respiratory tract infections. Gunning 1999a
Echinacea in the treatment and prevention of upper respiratory tract infections. Gunning 1999
Echinacea questionable for colds. [No authors listed] 1999
["A bunch of the boys were whooping it up". Echinacea for what ails ya.] Mack 1998
Echinacea is being tried as an agent for immune stimulation but requires more study Zink 1998
[Phenytoin suppositories and echinacea.] Kaatz 1997
Echinacin was part of a treatment plan, along with cyclophosphamide, thymostimulin and epirubicin for terminal cancer patients Lersch 1994
Echinacin was part of therapy for advanced colorectal cancers Lersch 1992
Polysaccharides i.v. to humans showed early decline of PMN (indicating endothelium adherence) followed by an increase in PMN and monocytes. Myelocytes indicated migration from marrow into the peripheral blood Roesler 1991
Echinaceae (84 -112 mg/d) and Sabalae (78 -104 mg/d) to 30 women with incontinence (18), pollakiuria (6) and dysuria (6) provided benefit Timmermans 1990
Advanced liver cancer patients treated with echinacin (E purpurea), thymostimulin and cyclophosphamide Lersch 1990
[Pertussis therapy with myo-echinacin in pediatric practice.][Article in German] Baetgen 1964
"Cautions with echinacea in auto immune disease?" at Medical Herbalism
History of Record
ORIGINAL RESEARCH BY: Soaring Bear, Ph.D.
May 1999
MAJOR REVISION BY: J. Mohanasundarum, MD, PhD
January 2010
LATEST UPDATES BY: Julie Dennis
December 2022