Note that some links will break as pages are moved, websites are abandoned, etc.
If this happens, please try searching for the page in the Wayback Machine at www.archive.org.
“In the current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine there is a new study of Echinacea for the treatment of cold symptoms: Echinacea for Treating the Common Cold, A Randomized Trial. I won’t hold out the punchline – the study was completely negative. But let’s put the results of this study into the context of the history of echinacea and the clinical evidence…..The prior plausibility for echinacea as a cold remedy is very low, but not zero. As an herbal product it can feasibly have biological activity. The claim that it “boosts the immune system” is not credible, as such a phenomenon is not generally accepted. Basic science research essentially finds that the immune system is activated by echinacea, but this has not been distinguished from a non-specific immune response to a foreign substance. In other words, stimulating the immune system non-specifically (I can do this by punching you in the arm) and “boosting” the immune system so that it functions more effectively against an infection, are not the same thing. Leaping to the latter conclusion is not justified by the evidence.” Steven Novella, MD, Science Based Medicine (22nd December 2010)