Bruce P. Barrett, MD, PhD; Roger L. Brown, PhD; Kristin Locken, BA; Rob Maberry, BA; James A. Bobula, PhD; Donn D'Alessio, MD
Echinacea is an herbal therapy that is widely used to treat the common cold, but there is no consensus about its effectiveness.
This randomized, controlled trial compared a capsule form of Echinacea purpurea herb and root and E. angustifolia root with placebo in 148 college students with symptoms of the common cold. Echinacea had no effect on the duration or severity of cold symptoms.
This particular form of echinacea provides no benefit for common cold symptoms in young, healthy adults. It will be necessary to perform similar careful studies of other echinacea preparations, which could differ from the preparation used in this study.
The dotted line represents the echinacea group; the solid line represents the placebo group.
Dotted lines represent the echinacea group; solid lines represent the placebo group. Error bars represent 95% CIs. Although 95% CIs indicate the uncertainty of the severity of symptoms, they should not be used to compare symptom severity on any particular day.
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Barrett BP, Brown RL, Locken K, Maberry R, Bobula JA, D'Alessio D. Treatment of the Common Cold with Unrefined Echinacea: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2002;137:939-946. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-137-12-200212170-00006
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2002;137(12):939-946.
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