Cold and flu season has been officially over for weeks, if not months. However, if you have ever suffered through a summer cold, the new findings on the herb echinacea will certainly be of interest to you.
A new reveiw of 14 clinical studies published in the British Journal "Lancet Infectious Diseases" indicates that echinacea cuts the chance of catching a cold by 58% and can reduce the duration of colds by about a day and a half.
These findings directly contradict last year's study by the National Institute of Health which found echinacea to be ineffective in protecting against the common cold and reducing cold symptoms. The American Botanical Council feels the dosage of the herb used in the NIH tests were too low and this new analysis of past studies obviously indicates that further studies are needed. Especially since the active ingredient of echinacea, derived from the Purple Cone Flower, is still unknown. Also unknown is that proper dosage of echinacea and the most effective form of the herb to take.
So the controversy continues and hopefully we will see more research on this immunostimulating drug soon. Hopefully we will have some answers before the next cold and flu season is upon us.