Does Echinacea work?
Many people - including healthcare professionals - do not rate herbal remedies and would rather use traditional pills than consider a herbal alternative. However there are others who claim that herbal remedies can fight things like depression, enlarged prostates, varicose veins, migraines, colds, high cholesterol and many other conditions. One of the most popular is Echinacea, used for fighting colds.
Previous research has suggested that Echinacea can help fight symptoms of colds, but there was not enough evidence to support the claim that Echinacea can prevent people from catching colds.
Recently there has been a large clinical study by Cardiff University looking at Echinacea and whether it can prevent colds. The research includes some very interesting findings: they came to the conclusion that not only does this herbal treatment reduce the number of people catching colds, but the duration of the illness is also reduced.
So according to Cardiff University, Echinacea reduces your chances of catching colds - and if you do catch a cold, it will reduce how long you have it for. But does that mean that chemist shelves will soon sell out of Echinacea as people enjoy a new-found belief in herbal remedies? It is doubtful.
Just because there is a journal or newspaper discussing how research has proven certain claims, it isn’t necessarily accepted by all. The NHS have acted quickly and released statements about the research, poking holes in it and explaining why there are lots of questions over its validity.
The NHS also stated that there was no significant difference in the number of people catching the cold between a control group and a group taking Echinacea.
Echinacea has been linked with the fight against colds for a long time, but its effectiveness has never been scientifically proven. The NHS do say that it may reduce the duration, but not that Echinacea can prevent colds. They say that further research needs to be done to find out if it can really prevent colds.