The purple flower is one of the most recognizable herbal products out there. A meta-analysis published in 2007 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases (Vol. 7, Pages 473-480) concluded that echinacea may cut the risk of catching the common cold by almost 60%.
Researchers from the University of Connecticut combined the results of 14 different studies with positive results. In one of the studies they found in that echinacea taken in combination with vitamin C reduced cold incidence by 86%, and when the herbal was used alone the incidence was reduced by 65%.
A large study with E. purpurea (Echinaforce product) in 2012 indicated that the duration of the common cold may be reduced by 26%, and the number of recurrent colds decreased by 60%. This study was a gold standard randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled clinical trial with 755 participants (M. Jawad et al. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, doi: 10.1155/2012/841315)
A new clinical study published in the open-access journal Current Therapeutic Research in April indicated that a proprietary combination of a concentrated echinacea herb and root extract is as effective as Tamiflu (antiviral medicine) for the early treatment of ‘flu.
This study, which included 473 patients with ‘flu symptoms, also used an Echinaforce product (Echinaforce Hotdrink syrup composed of E. purpurea herb and root and European elderberry (Sambucus nigra)).
Commenting independently on those results, Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, said: “This is yet another significant human clinical trial that helps to document the clinical benefits of this specific Swiss echinacea extract.”
“It is rewarding to see an herbal products manufacturer investing resources in a well-designed clinical study on a phytotherapeutic product,” added Stefan Gafner, PhD, ABC’s chief science officer. “The combination of echinacea and European elderberry has resulted in the same treatment outcome as the standard drug oseltamivir in the study population, providing evidence for the safety and efficacy of this product.”
Source: Curr Ther Res. 2015, epub ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.curtheres.2015.04.001 “Echinaforce Hotdrink versus oseltamivir in influenza: a randomized, double-blind, double dummy, multicenter, non-inferiority clinical trial” Authors: K. Raus, S. Pleschka, P. Klein, et al.