Another herb bites the dust

Study Says Echinacea Doesn’t Help Colds

New research finds that taking the popular herbal remedy echinacea does nothing to treat or prevent colds. The federally funded study was what fans and foes of such substances say they have long needed — rigorous, scientific testing. It found that patients who took an echinacea plant extract fared no better than those who took a dummy treatment.
“Our study … adds to the accumulating evidence that suggests that the burden of proof should lie with those who advocate this treatment,” wrote Dr. Ronald Turner of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who led the study, which appeared in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

I can’t understand the logic of people promoting and people consuming substances for alleged benefits without there being any hard evidence. This is particularly common in Alternative medicine today. Most of the herbal advocates promote herbs on the fallacy that herbs being “natural” are “safe”. They do indeed have side effects and these are often under appreciated. I have personally encountered quite a few problems with herbs, and so much so I have to carry alternative medicine databases in my PDA see (A Herb Causing Low Platelets)

Some clinical trials on herbs are positive (e.g. St. John’s Wort in depression) but it is just that there are relatively few trials compared with mainstream medicine. Herbs should be subjected to the same tight regulations as mainstream medicine simply for the sake of public safety.

In anycase, Echinacea looks pretty 🙂

The Herbal Minefield


Malaysian physician, haematologist, blogger, web and tech enthusiast