Echinacea is a powerful herb with powerful medicinal properties that can help reduce the incidence of colds and other acute respiratory infections (ARI). Studies have revealed that consuming echinacea can reduce the risk of developing colds by approximately half. It is essential to take echinacea with food or a large glass of water, as taking it on an empty stomach can be harmful. Although there is no evidence that echinacea can prevent or treat conditions similar to COVID-19, it may be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of ARI and the common cold.
A study of 95 people with early cold and flu symptoms found that those who drank several cups of echinacea tea every day for 5 days felt better sooner than those who drank tea without echinacea. When selecting an echinacea supplement, it is important to choose a high-quality product. Different products use different parts of the echinacea plant, so the effectiveness may vary. The combination of active ingredients in the aboveground part of Echinacea purpurea is thought to be the most effective.
It is also essential to take echinacea as soon as possible during a cold, with multiple doses per day for the first few days. Despite concerns that echinacea may not be safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, evidence suggests that using echinacea during pregnancy does not increase the risk of birth defects or other pregnancy-related health problems. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) recommends caution when purchasing echinacea products, as approximately 10% had no echinacea at all; half were mislabeled as to the type of echinacea in the product; and more than half of the standardized preparations did not contain the amount of active ingredients listed on the label. Although there is some concern that echinacea may worsen the overactivation of the immune system in a cytokine storm, clinical trials show that it actually lowers the levels of the immune molecules involved in this process. In conclusion, current evidence suggests that echinacea supplementation may reduce the duration and severity of acute respiratory tract infections. It is important to choose a high-quality product and take it as soon as possible during a cold, with multiple doses per day for the first few days.