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Immunol Lett. 1999 Jun 1;68(2-3):391-5.

Increased production of antigen-specific immunoglobulins G and M following in vivo treatment with the medicinal plants Echinacea angustifolia and Hydrastis canadensis.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California, San Diego 92161, USA.


A number of immunomodulatory effects have been attributed to the medicinal plants Echinacea angustifolia and Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis); however, little is known about whether treatment with these plants can enhance antigen-specific immunity. We investigated the antigen-specific in vivo immunomodulatory potential of continuous treatment with Echinacea and Goldenseal root extract over a period of 6 weeks using rats that were injected with the novel antigen keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) and re-exposed to KLH after the initial exposure. Immunoglobulin production was monitored via ELISA continuously over a period of 6 weeks. The Echinacea-treated group showed a significant augmentation of their primary and secondary IgG response to the antigen, whereas the Goldenseal-treated group showed an increase in the primary IgM response during the first 2 weeks of treatment. Our results suggest that medicinal plants like Echinacea or Goldenseal may enhance immune function by increasing antigen-specific immunoglobulin production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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