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| Long Term Use of Echinacea |
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: March 3, 1999
Why echinacea can’t be taken for more than 2 weeks?
Prominent Australian herbalist and scientist Kerry Bone states that there is no evidence that suggests that there should be limitations on the use of echinacea. Suggestions to the contrary have resulted from misconceptions of how echinacea works on the immune system or misinterpretations of the scientific literature.
Echinacea works by increasing phagocytosis - that is, by increasing the effectiveness of the blood cells which clear and inactivate organisms that cause disease. It works best as a preventative or in the early stages of disease because increased phagocytosis means that the offending organism is less likely to take hold in the cells of the body. This has been the experience of many herbalists.
Echinacea is very safe, having no side effects or contraindications. It has a long term history of effectiveness in acute infections such as colds and flus, for chronic infections such as chronic bronchitis and in autoimmune disease such as diabetes. An example of beneficial long term use is for asthmatics where it has shown to reduce the frequency of viral respiratory infections which often trigger asthmatic attacks.