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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:417267. doi: 10.1155/2012/417267. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

Randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of echinacea supplementation in air travellers.

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1
School of Pharmacy, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Gold Coast, QLD 4222, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To identify whether a standardised Echinacea formulation is effective in the prevention of respiratory and other symptoms associated with long-haul flights.

METHODS:

175 adults participated in a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial travelling back from Australia to America, Europe, or Africa for a period of 1-5 weeks on commercial flights via economy class. Participants took Echinacea (root extract, standardised to 4.4 mg alkylamides) or placebo tablets. Participants were surveyed before, immediately after travel, and at 4 weeks after travel regarding upper respiratory symptoms and travel-related quality of life.

RESULTS:

Respiratory symptoms for both groups increased significantly during travel (P < 0.0005). However, the Echinacea group had borderline significantly lower respiratory symptom scores compared to placebo (P = 0.05) during travel.

CONCLUSIONS:

Supplementation with standardised Echinacea tablets, if taken before and during travel, may have preventive effects against the development of respiratory symptoms during travel involving long-haul flights.

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