British study: Swiss echinacea extract helps prevent common cold

AUSTIN, Texas — British researchers have concluded that a Swiss echinacea extract is both safe and effective in helping to prevent symptoms of the common cold, according to a study published in American Botanical Council's peer-reviewed journal HerbalGram

Researchers tested 673 healthy people to see if the use of an extract of echinacea root and herb was safe and effective in preventing cold symptoms over a four-month period. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial used Echinaforce, an alcoholic extract of the leaves (95%) and roots (5%) of organically grown echinacea (Echinacea purpurea).

The results showed that subjects using the Swiss echinacea extract had significantly fewer incidences of cold or flu symptoms — 149 colds, while subjects in the placebo group reported 188 colds. 

"It is heartening and refreshing to see such positive conclusions coming from this largest echinacea clinical trial ever published," stated Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council. "While there have been previous clinical studies producing mixed results on the efficacy of various types of echinacea preparations, used at different dosage levels, and in different types of study design, this highly impressive clinical trial is historic due to its size," he said. "It employed a high-quality, well-researched echinacea product [and] a credible study design, and had enough people to produce statistically significant positive results."

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