Paul Mittman, ND; Debra Wollner, PhD; Linda Kim, ND
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Mittman P., Wollner D., Kim L.; Echinacea for the Common Cold. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:600-601. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-139-7-200310070-00019
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(7):600-601.
TO THE EDITOR:
Barrett and colleagues did not perform a placebo-controlled trial (1). The study used alfalfa (Medicago sativa) for the placebo; however, alfalfa has known biological activity. In 1990, we published a randomized, controlled trial showing the efficacy of Urtica dioica compared with placebo lactose in treating symptoms of allergic rhinitis (2). During this study, we also observed that alfalfa is as effective as U. dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis (Unpublished data).
Alfalfa contains bioactive phytochemicals, including 15% to 22% crude protein, minerals (phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, sulfur, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, cobalt, boron, molybdenum), vitamins (A, D, E, K, C, B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, pantothenic acid, inositole, biotin, folic acid), amino acids (immunomodulatory canavanine, arginine, asparagine), phytoestrogenic coumarins (coumestrol) and isoflavones (genistein, daidzein, biochanin A, formononetin), flavones, and antifungal and hypocholesterolemic saponins (3–5). In addition, alfalfa has historically been used to treat upper respiratory tract conditions.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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