Thumbs Down on Echinacea

July 28, 2005

The New York Times is reporting that studies show the popular herbal supplement, Echinacea, to have no effect in preventing or treating colds.

"We should assume that echinacea does not work until somebody proves it does," he said. That, he added, "is the flip side of where we've been."

For some time now I've bought into the notion that Echinacea helps stave off the common cold, and have been taking it accordingly. I guess this puts a stop to that.

Although, I often wonder if I wouldn't be better off maintaining my ignorance of such subjects in order to preserve any placebo effect that I might be gaining the benefit of.

Any resident med / epidemiology students care to comment?

Here is the original news release from the Infectious Disease Society of America:

Echinacea Fails to Block Cold Virus Infection