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Echinacea

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Sparky1985, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Having been plagued by a virus and generally being rundown for a while I have just bought some echinacea....does anyone use this? Is it really good at boosting immune systems? I have never used it before but a few colleagues swear by it- looking for more recommendations as those people are also very health conscious in that they exercise lots every day and eat healthily all the time which also would help their immune system whereas I exercise regularly but not intensely or daily and my diet while balanced does have junk food in it as snacks (which I know are bad for me so no judgement please!)
     
  2. Having been plagued by a virus and generally being rundown for a while I have just bought some echinacea....does anyone use this? Is it really good at boosting immune systems? I have never used it before but a few colleagues swear by it- looking for more recommendations as those people are also very health conscious in that they exercise lots every day and eat healthily all the time which also would help their immune system whereas I exercise regularly but not intensely or daily and my diet while balanced does have junk food in it as snacks (which I know are bad for me so no judgement please!)
     
  3. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    It seems to work for me - but who knows, it could be coincidence or luck?

    It's one that you have to take for 2-3 weeks, then stop taking it for a while as the effects wear off. Picking when you start taking is is the tricky bit! Start of term... whenever someone close has a cold.... that sort of thing.
     
  4. Echinacea works and can help ward off a cold, but only if you take the moment you feel symptoms, and no later. I always have some in the house, and take it when I feel vulnerable because of stress or physical exhaustion, because I'm sure our natural defences are weakened in those conditions
     
  5. There's no evidence that it works
    http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/band109/b109-7.html
    although you will always find anecdotal advice that it will cure anything. If you want to waste your money, feel free. I'd prefer to spend my money on more fruit and some paracetomol for if that doesn't work.
     
  6. There's no evidence, other than hear-say, that the majority of herbal remedies work, yet companies make millions out of people who swear by them...
    Echinacea has worked wonders with me in the past - perhaps only psychologically, but when I've taken it, I've felt better, caught less bugs and been back on form again. When everyone else around me has been floored with something, I'd been absolutely fine!
    I'll go herbal over pharmaceutical drug any day of the week.

     
  7. which is what I said - there will always be anecdotal "evidence" for the effects of remedies.
    The strength of the placebo effect is why double blind randomised trials are used to find out what actually works and what people just think might work.
    I'll take something properly trialled over something with no evidence base any day of the week.
     
  8. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Ruthie is correct here. There is no scientific evidence for echinacea but as regards herbal remedies remember many everyday medicines have herbal backgrounds, such as aspirin and digitalis.
    Double blind trials (for those who don't know) are when 50% are given the medicine (herbal or otherwise) and 50% a placebo, but neither the group nor the doctors treating them know which is which (hence double blind).
    Me too. Several years ago a girlfriend on mine had breast cancer. She had some radio and chemo but then eschewed traditional medicine and went down the alternative therapy route. She died.
    This is yet more bad science (and don't get me started on homeopathy or faith healing.........please!). I'm all for the placebo effect. If it works for you then fine. But you cannot extrapolate this to the generral population. There may well be a correlation between a person getting better and taking echinacea, but it may well not be causal.
    I had a headache yesterday. I took 2 paracetamol and I ate a cupcake. Which one made my headache better as it disappeared after taking pracetamol and eating a cupcake at the same time.
     
  9. Most pharmaceuticals are based on or contain herbal ingredients - like aspirin.
    Herbal remedies are not controlled and may contain any number of odd things.
    Herbs are as likely to make you ill, are more prone to overdose (as people tend to think they are 'just' herbs) and can be extremely dangerous.
    And I say that as one who is a hedgerow hunter and makes a variety of herbal simples.(ooooooh that sounds pompous, sorry).

    Echinacea is one of those herbals that have been found to be effective in some studies and ineffective in others for a variety of different reasons. Current(ish) thinking is that it works in colds as an anti inflammatory, so it lessens the most irritating symptoms of a cold.
    BUT it can cause allergic reactions and can react badly with a lot of common medications so should always be checked by your doctor first!

     
  10. Thousands of years of using effective herbal treatments all over the world can't all be wrong.....
    And thalidamide was 'scientifically proven'...
    I know people who echinacea works for very well and for others it can make things worse. If you have an autoimmune disorder (when your immune system is attacking your own body) and you build up your immune system using these herbs, then you are basically making yourself more ill.
    IMO, your best bet is to get a health check first.
     
  11. joli2

    joli2 New commenter

    Indeed. And in case like mine of (cancer of the immune system) boosting those cells is the last thing I'd want.
     

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