||Largest Echinacea trial proves prevention of colds and flu
Implications of Colds & Flu
and flu are the most frequent diseases encountered in Western
civilisation. Associated health care costs and loss of productivity are
substantial, and estimated to be in the region of US$40 billion in the
United States alone.
Cold and flu infections have different clinical
manifestations and severities. Today, around 200 different viruses are
known to cause these infections and each year, new organisms capable of
producing the well-recognised symptoms are discovered. These viral
particles are most prevalent from autumn to spring, producing multiple
peaks of infections during these months.
Despite decades of
intensive research and the obvious commercial potential, no preventative
drug has been developed against colds or flu. Flu vaccinations have
perhaps come the closest, but are only effective against the influenza
group of viruses, responsible for 10 to 15% of respiratory infections.
The innate variability and mutability of viruses eventually hampers any
attempt at direct pharmacological intervention, according to the
classical ‘lock and key’ principle.
alternative approach is to ‘strengthen’ the immune resistance,
supporting the defence mechanism of the host against infectious
organisms. Extracts obtained from the purple coneflower (Echinacea
purpurea) are successfully used for this purpose. These preparations
exhibit good tolerability and are suitable for long-term use.
recently, results from pre-clinical studies have lead to an
intensification of research work involving a specific Echinacea extract
(Echinaforce®) obtained by alcoholic extraction of the
freshly harvested herb (95%) and root (5%). After the discovery of
direct anti-viral effects in 2010 and the so-called “individualized
immune-modulation” in 2011, the efficacy of Echinaforce® to prevent colds and flu has now been confirmed in a randomised, placebo controlled and double-blind clinical study.
New Clinical Evidence for Echinaforce®:
Effective and Safe
study, conducted at the Common Cold Centre at the University of Cardiff
(United Kingdom), represents the world’s largest clinical trial
investigating the long-term use of Echinacea purpurea.
A total of
755 subjects were treated over 4 months with Echinaforce® or placebo.
Considerably more cold episodes and days with colds occurred with
placebo, and 52% more cold episodes, which required co-medication with
analgesics (p < 0.05). Virally-confirmed infections were reduced by
Echinaforce®, especially those caused by the Influenza virus,
Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Parainfluenza virus or Coronavirus.
strongest benefit was seen in individuals with increased stress and/or
recurrent infections - these were virtually halved (p < 0.05). At the
same time, no further adverse events occurred in those taking
Echinaforce® compared to placebo – meaning that the prevention over 4
months displays a favourable safety profile and tolerability.
Immune Support and Antiviral Effects
the first time the newly published results reveal how Echinaforce®
supports the immune resistance and furthermore acts directly against
respiratory viruses. This appears to be an effective therapeutic
approach, which not only works at the level of the host organism but
also on the invaders. All of this, with a highly acceptable level of
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Echinacea in today’s world (3,8 MB)
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