Echinacea supplements can prevent colds and is of most benefit to people who are prone to them, according to the largest ever clinical study of the herbal medicine. Researchers of the Cardiff University found that taking three daily doses of the common herbal remedy for four months reduced the number of colds. The duration of the illness suffered by patients also went down by an average of 26 per cent. According to the results of tests on 750 people, the treatment also cut the number of recurrent colds suffered by those with weak immune systems or a history of catching several bouts each year by 60 per cent.
Echinacea is extracted from the Eastern Purple Coneflower, which is found in North America, and has long been used as an herbal remedy for the common cold. Several previous studies, including an overview of evidence by the highly respected Cochrane Library, had suggested that Echinacea could soothe symptoms and cut colds short, but there was only limited evidence it could prevent the illness from ever taking hold. However, this new study suggests that taking Echinaforce, a common form of the herb extract, could not only reduce the risk of colds but reduce the amount of paracetamol patients took while ill.
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