Echinacea sp.

Strengthens resistance to infection

Laboratory studies into several different echinacea species and constituents isolated from the plant have identified a variety of immunological effects, and seem to validate the herb's usage to support immunity. The results of human clinical trials have not always demonstrated the anticipated effects, however, causing the popular use of echinacea as a preventative against colds and flu to become controversial.

But a meta-analysis published in 2007 may go some way in clarifying the situation. In this study, researchers pooled the results of 14 clinical studies and estimated that taking echinacea decreased the likelihood of developing a cold by 58 percent, and when a cold did occur, its duration was shortened by about 30 hours.

0 I )0S \( ¡K The most appropriate dose of echinacea depends on both the plant part and the species used, but it is important to start taking the herb as soon as possible after symptoms develop. Preparations made from the root of Echinacea angustifolia or £ pallida are generally taken at doses of about 1 g taken 3 times daily to treat colds or, in lower doses, as a preventative. For E. purpurea, either the whole plant (including roots) or the aerial parts may be used. The dose is up to 2 g taken 3 times daily as an infusion of dried herb, or 3 ml juice made from the fresh plant and taken 3 times daily.

To make the juice, liquefy fresh aerial parts of E. purpurea with a little water in a home juicer or blender. The juice doesn't store well, so make only as much as you need to use immediately.

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