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July 28, 2005

Echinacea Doesn't Stop Infection according to a recent study

FoxNews reports that Echinacea doesn't improve health, according to a new study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. "Our study ... adds to the accumulating evidence that suggests that the burden of proof should lie with those who advocate this treatment," wrote Dr. Ronald Turner of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who led the study, which appeared in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

In the newest experiment, researchers recruited 399 healthy patients who got one of three laboratory-made echinacea plant extracts or a dummy preparation. The patients were then exposed to the cold virus and their symptoms were evaluated.

Scientists found no difference in infection rates between the groups who received the herb or placebo. About 90 percent in both groups wound up becoming infected. Symptoms like sneezing, runny noses and sore throat were also about the same, with more than half in both groups showing classic signs of a clinical cold.

However, believers in the positive benefits of the herb are unlikely to be dissuaded. Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council told the press, "This is not a definitive trial on the efficacy of echinacea, nor should the results be generalized to echinacea preparations widely available."

Posted by Blogorithm at July 28, 2005 04:24 PM

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