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Using Echinacea to Treat Colds

Echinacea Cold Treatments

Using Echinacea to Treat Colds

Most herbalists advise taking echinacea in high doses the minute you feel a cold coming on, so your body can ward off the illness before symptoms get a foothold. If you have a sore throat, it is particularly useful to gargle echinacea tincture or juice mixed with water. This quickly reduces pain due to an anesthetic effect.

There's a myth that echinacea loses its effectiveness when used continually. There's no evidence to support this. Indeed, clinical evidence supports echinacea's effectiveness in long-term use.


Even if you do catch a cold, echinacea may help you to shake it off sooner than you otherwise might. During a period of infection, when the body is running low on resources, using echinacea to treat colds has been found to have a strong and direct force on the body's ability to speed healing. In other words, when you're in bed with a cold, your body can use all the help it can get.

Tackling the Flu

The same general results hold true for using echinacea to treat the flu. In one study conducted in Germany, liquid echinacea extract was shown to help ease the symptoms of influenza and speed recovery.

Another study, this one reported in 1978, found that echinacea root was significantly effective in attacking influenza viruses. Another clinical study, in 1992, found that volunteers who took echinacea showed marked resistance to flu viruses.

And volunteers who took echinacea, but who still came down with the flu, exhibited far fewer symptoms than untreated patients.

Every year, millions of people suffer from colds. Fortunately, by following the home remedies and natural treatment options outlined in this article, you can make your bouts with the sniffles more tolerable.

For more information on preventing and treating colds and flu, see the links below.

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Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, including Reader's Digest, Prevention, Men's Health, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.

Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women's health.

Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.

Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.


Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.