Patient Educational Flyer
Alternative common cold treatment using Echinacea
What Is Echinacea?
This is a flowering herb found in Canada and the US Rocky Mountains. The common names for Echinacea include the black-eyed Susan, the purple cone flower, Rock-Up-Hat, Red Sunflower, and Comb Flower among others. This herb’s nine species have been used both for complementary and supplementary purposes in medicine.
What Is The Intended Use Of Echinacea?
Echinaceais intended for the treatment of common cold. Echinacea extracts have been proven to increase the body immune system. Through research, it has been ascertained that Echinacea increases the white blood cell count in the body.
When taken in adults as well as children, Echinacea reduces the risk of getting common cold by 45% to 58%. It also reduces the effects of common cold in case one is suffering from it. Research shows that the products made from flowers of the Echinacea plant are more effective in treatment of cold as compared to those sourced from the roots and the leaves.
Can I Suffer Any Side Effects By Using Echinacea?
This is one of the most sensitive questions that persons wishing to take the supplementary advantage of Echinacea need answered. Very few side effects are associated with taking Echinacea.They include:
Stomach upset: this happens to be the most common side effect. Most of the people taking Echinacea suffer stomach upsets in about thirty minutes after taking the oral medication. However, this lasts only for a short while.
Allergic reactions: only a few people suffer this. In case allergic reactions occurs, one may get, rashes especially when applied on the skin, anaphylaxis (makes one to have breathing difficulties), andworsened asthma symptoms if the patient is asthmatic. The allergic reaction is most likely to occur in people who are allergic to other daisy family plantswhich include marigold, ragweed, daisies, mums, as well as chrysanthemums.
NB: In case you have any allergies, please consult your doctor before taking Echinacea medication.
Are There Adverse Reactions That Could Occur When I Use Echinacea?
Yes, the only known adverse reaction is that, the combination of Echinacea with some other medication could cause liver damage.
However, this effect occurs in case of people using some drugs. For instance some medications for treatment of heart problems might damage the liver in case they combine with Echinacea. One such medication is the amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone). Some anti-fungal treatments could also cause this problem.
What Safety Issues Are Associated With Using Echinacea?
One major concern that you should be aware of is that, unlike approved medications the use of herbal remedies such as Echinacea are currently not under the US government regulation. This puts the buyer at the risk of buying another product which does not contain Echinacea although the label shows that it is one of the ingredients. Additionally, the product so bought may be unsafe and end up affecting them.
In case one needs to use Echinacea, it is always advisable to consult the doctor. The doctor will guide them on the best way to use it. This will also help a lot in case of people taking other medication as well as those with allergic reaction. For instance, as Echinacea is known to be a great immune booster, it would affect medicines intended for reducing immunity (Immunosuppressants).
Where can I learn more?
For more information about Echinacea, use the following resources: