Echinacea is one of the most widely used botanical remedies, and it has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. But does echinacea interact with anything? In this article, we'll explore the potential interactions of echinacea with other substances, as well as its safety for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
What is Echinacea?Echinacea is a genus of flowering plants in the daisy family. It is native to North America and has been used for centuries by Native Americans for its medicinal properties.
The most commonly used species are Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea, and Echinacea pallida.What are the active ingredients in echinacea?The active ingredients in echinacea are polysaccharides, alkylamides, caffeic acid derivatives, and flavonoids. These compounds are responsible for the beneficial effects of echinacea, although research suggests that the aerial part of Echinacea purpurea is the most effective.
Does echinacea interact with anything?Taking echinacea along with caffeine could increase caffeine levels and increase the risk of caffeine side effects, such as nervousness, headache and jitteriness. Additionally, echinacea may interfere with the functioning of certain chemotherapy drugs, such as etoposide. Different products use different parts of the echinacea plant, so the effectiveness of echinacea may differ from product to product. A study of 95 people with early cold and flu symptoms (such as runny nose, itchy throat, and fever) 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.
However, 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. Therefore, it is important to choose a high-quality echinacea supplement and use it as soon as possible during a cold or flu, with multiple doses per day for the first few days.
Is echinacea safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women?Despite concerns that echinacea may be dangerous 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. In conclusion, it is important to be aware of potential interactions between echinacea and other substances. It is also important to choose a high-quality supplement and use it as soon as possible during a cold or flu.
Finally, evidence suggests that using echinacea during pregnancy does not increase the risk of birth defects or other pregnancy-related health problems.