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Phytomedicine. 2009 Jun;16(6-7):669-78. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.02.010. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

Alcohol extract of Echinacea pallida reverses stress-delayed wound healing in mice.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, IA, USA.


Healing of open skin wounds begins with an inflammatory response. Restraint stress has been well documented to delay wound closure, partially via glucocorticoid (GC)-mediated immunosuppression of inflammation. Echinacea, a popular herbal immunomodulator, is purported to be beneficial for wound healing. To test the hypothesis, an alcohol extract of E. pallida was administrated orally to mice for 3 days prior to, and 4 days post wounding with a dermal biopsy on the dorsum. Concomitantly, mice were exposed to 3 cycles of daily restraint stress prior to, and 4 cycles post wounding. Echinacea accelerated wound closure in the stressed mice, but had no apparent wound healing effect for the non-stressed mice when compared to their respective controls. To test if the positive healing effect is through modulation of GC release, plasma corticosterone concentrations were measured in unwounded mice treated with restraint stress and the herbal extract for 4 days. Plasma GC in restraint stressed mice gavaged with Echinacea was not different from mice treated with restraint only, but was increased compared to the vehicle control. This data suggests that the improved wound healing effect of Echinacea in stressed mice is not mediated through modulation of GC signaling.

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