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Planta Med. 2008 May;74(6):633-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-993766. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold.

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  • 1Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmacognosy, Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria.


Echinacea preparations are widely used for common cold. Many consumers and healthcare professionals are not aware that products available under the term Echinacea may differ in their composition, due to the use of different species, plant parts, extraction methods and addition of other components. In 2005, a Cochrane review has been published to provide objective evidence whether the various Echinacea preparations are more effective than no treatment, more effective than placebo or similarly effective to other treatments in the prevention and the treatment of the common cold. In contrast to other reviews, the specific criteria for pooling of data from different trials have been predefined to assure a meaningful meta-analysis. In the meantime two further meta-analyses have been published. In the present mini-review, these latest meta-analyses are evaluated and discussed.

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