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NEWS: Wonder Herb Echinacea Useless Against Colds Study Finds

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posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 03:38 AM
According to a study undertaken by The Virginia School of Medicine and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Echinacea is no more effective than a placebo for the easement of the common cold. The herbs use is endorsed by The World health Organization (WHO) and has been highly recommended as a treatment for the common cold for centuries. The herb was touted to be a natural immune system builder and promoted as a proven treatment.
"Our study, however, adds to the accumulating evidence that suggests that the burden of proof should lie with those who advocate this treatment," he said.

In his commentary, Dr Sampson said most of the previous tests that helped build echinacea's reputation "were of small, inadequately controlled studies sponsored by industry".

"Since 1999, the (National Institutes of Health) has spent almost $US1.5 billion in grants for research into alternative methods. NCCAM has spent almost half that amount and has found no evidence of efficacy and little evidence of inefficacy," Dr Sampson said.

He said it is time to devote that money to tests of treatments that have "passed through the sieve of plausibility and that is consistent with basic sciences, other applied sciences, and history - all molded by wisdom and common sense".

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The study tested a type of Echinacea used by Native Americans in the mid west but not all types of the herb were tested as there are so many of them.

It will be interesting to see weather any follow up testing takes place into other varieties of the herb to see weather any type of Echinacea is of actual benefit.

I still feel that one report with these findings is not enough to fully test the reliability of this herb as a natural medicine.

posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 08:01 AM
My understanding of echinacea is that it is a preventative medicine not a treatment to relieve symptoms.

The biggest problem I have with western medicine is the emphasis on trating symptoms rather than preventing illness, an approach widely abused by big pharma.

posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 09:32 AM
i've used echinacea for years and it works for me. 99 percent of the sheeple i talk to about echinacea don't know how to use it. it is a PREVENTATIVE herb. once you have the cold, it doesn't do much. you don't start taking it when you 'get a cold', you take it BEFORE. but,in this society of 'quick fixes', most sheeple don't think about any preventitive measures to keep the body healthy.

plus the drug industry doesn't want any of these 'natural' type of medicines around because it take a chunk out of thier pockets...and we all know how poor the drug industry is..........

i wonder if the timing of this report was suppose to co-incide with the passing of CAFTA ?????????? will the u.s adopt the same 'requirements' on supplements as england is doing??

Like WTO, CAFTA increases the possibility that Codex regulations will be imposed on the American public. Section 6 of CAFTA discusses Codex as a regulatory standard for nations that join the agreement. If CAFTA has nothing to do with dietary supplements, as CAFTA supporters claim, why in the world does it specifically mention Codex?

better add vitimans to your cache of guns and food

posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 09:46 AM
aron23 says:

My understanding of echinacea is that it is a preventative medicine not a treatment to relieve symptoms.

But that's not what it's sold as; the health-food stores sell it as a "cure' or a palliative, too.

The biggest problem I have with western medicine is the emphasis on trating symptoms rather than preventing illness...

Well, vaccines are used as a preventive and not as a palliative. Are you saying the vaccinations are okay but painkillers are not? And how about antibiotics?

clearmind says:

i wonder if the timing of this report was suppose to co-incide with the passing of CAFTA ??????????

What does a study on the use of a drug have to do with the Central American Free Trade Act?

will the u.s adopt the same 'requirements' on supplements as england is doing??

Maybe, maybe not. Certainly most people I know here on this forum believe that the government should test pharma-drugs before they're released, just like they believe that the FDA should not just let the big agribusinesses release genetically-engineered foods without tests as well.

Do you believe that the government should be required to rule on pharma-drugs and genetically altered foodstuffs but should give a free pass to the health-food additives (which are also a billion-dollar business, in case you haven't noticed) and let them hustle whatever they want?

I'd hope the government was a little more responsible than that!

posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 09:50 AM
well........"Section 6 of CAFTA discusses Codex as a regulatory standard for nations that join the agreement" the standard is for regulations concerning drugs/supplements ...................the u.s just joined CAFTA......

[edit on 28-7-2005 by clearmind]

posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 10:31 AM
clearmind says:

........"Section 6 of CAFTA discusses Codex as a regulatory standard for nations that join the agreement"

In my review of the CAFTA text, the only place in Section 6 that the word CODEX even appears is Section 6, Subsection 6.3, Paragraph 6(d), which says:

"The Committee shall provide a forum for ... consulting on issues, positions, and agendas for meetings of the WTO SPS Committee, the various Codex committees (including the Codex Alimentarius Commission), the International Plant Protection Convention, the International Office of Epizootics, and other international and regional fora on food safety and human, animal, and plant health...."

What on earth does that have to do with outlawing or constraining non-pharma medicines/supplements?

And even if it did (which I don't think it does), the US would not need to get permission from Costa Rica and Belize to change their laws about drug testing. I do not see any correlation between CAFTA and drug testing at all.

And about my other question: Do you believe that the government should be required to rule on pharma-drugs and genetically altered foodstuffs but should give a free pass to the health-food additives (which are also a billion-dollar business, in case you haven't noticed) and let them hustle whatever they want?

[edit on 28-7-2005 by Off_The_Street]

posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 10:58 AM
Well my mom will disagree with that study. She swears by echinacea and pushes it on me the minute i even think about a cold.

and you're right I don't think testing on one variation of the plant is enough for a conclusive study unless it is the only variation commercially used.

posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 11:51 AM
worldwatcher, I agree.

But it seems to me that there are two different approaches here. With the pharma drugs, the belief seems to be: "Don't allow it to be used until enough studies have been done to prove its safety and efficacy."

With the non-pharma drugs, the idea seems to be to "Use it regardless of any studies, no matter what they show."

This can have its bad side effcts, as what happened with the St. John's Wort problem a couple of years ago.

So my question is this; Shouldn't we use the same rules when we're adopting or testing any drug, pharma or non-pharma?

posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 12:21 PM
Echinanchae works placebo or not, I used to suffer yearly from a cold, When is started to take it a few years ago, I thought I would just try it, however I havnt had a resperitory tract infection since.

On the Question of should we research and test this drup as an alternative, in the same way as any other drug, well yes maybe if it was just found. The research and guidance provided by the native american north and south indians for hundreds of years in the use and properties of Coneflower is already done....I will trust them thank you very much rather than organisations that allowed Thalidamide onto the market after such 'scientific testing'. Anyhow I just ignore the tablet type, There is a herbalsit in my town, she researched for me the type and dosage to use (root is the best and most traditional part of the plant) and ordered some in. It has actually worked out cheaper than the commercial form, though the tasts is not too pleasant, though OK mixed with green tea and som honey as a infusion to banish the bugs!

Why am I so into this you may wonder, well it stems from a purely selfish reason to be honest, mixed with my love of Native peoples knowledge and medicine, I am self employed and when I have time off work (always 1-3 weeks a year before with cold/flu) I have no sick pay and dont get paid! Even though if it cost me more in a year for the remedy than income saved from avoiding time off, it would still be worth it not too feel soo poorly!



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 02:50 PM
I think I ought to mention that I am not by any means locked in to Western allopathic methods as curatives. I think the Western world in general and the United States in particular ought to be looking a lot more closely at the idea of non-pharma drugs, especially when they’re being used as preventatives, like Western-medicine pharma vaccines are.

Both my wife (who is firm believer in natural healing protocols as well as being a degreed RN) and I are volunteer tour guides at a local Arboretum State Park, where we give guided tours on a “curandero trail” and discuss the naturally-occurring medicinal plants found in the Southwest deserts and used by Southwest Indians for millennia.

My point is, I'm not completely ignorant or close-minded on this issue.

But I don’t think that just because a drug or any other palliative has been used by people for hundreds of years means that it’s safe. For example, paleo-archaeological finds have shown the people have practiced trepanation for thousands of years, and it was commonly used up until about two hundred or so years ago, when people finally figured out that it was worthless. I don’t know how many people died from the trepanning procedure, but in retrospect, it seems they all died for nothing.

And you can say the same thing about bloodletting which was based on the ideas of “humours” in the blood, and was used until only about two hundred years ago when it was discontinued because it killed some patients and didn’t help the others.

And as far as actual drug ingestion goes, there are thousands of folk remedies used by pre-scientific people which simply didn’t work; and in many cases, killed the patient. But that didn’t stop them from being used for generations and generations.

So I think how long a drug or procedure has been used is not the final answer to the question of whether or not it could be used; there are simply too many folk remedies which have been used since ancient times which are bad.

And even if a traditional palliative or a cure works for one population, what if you are someone who has an ailment or a condition which will make the drug worse? Perhaps this drug will work just fine for, say, lactating mothers, but how about lactating mothers with diabetes? It might kill them, and the only way you can really be sure of its efficacy under most conditions is to do some pretty rigorous and well-designed testing.

Mischievous Elf says that he/she will “…trust them [Indians] thank you very much rather than organisations that allowed Thalidamide onto the market after such 'scientific testing'.”

That’s great; you should certainly have the right to put in your body whatever you choose to. But there are a lot of Indian cures which you probably wouldn’t take, either.

And certainly the Thalidomide debacle was a horrible one, but what do you expect? It was tested forty years ago, when we didn’t put as much emphasis on testing procedures as we do now. When you look at all the pharma drugs which were tested and then were found out to be dangerous, you will notice that most of them were pulled off the market at the first signs of problems – often voluntarily by the pharmas themselves, to keep them from looking bad.

(And by the way, thalidomide was prescribed in Europe and Canada during the early 1960s to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. At that time, it was not approved in the United States because Dr. Frances Kelsey from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated there was insufficient proof of the drug’s safety in humans.)

I believe that people (at least competent adults) should be allowed to take whatever they choose to take, and should not need the doctor’s (or the government’s, or anyone else’s) permission to do so.

But I also know that I am not a real expert on any kind of medicine (and I don’t think anyone else here is, either), and I like the idea of someone -- whether it’s a bunch of universities funded by the government or a bunch of nurse practitioners or anyone else -- run a series of comprehensive tests on these drugs and tell us what the dangers are and under what conditions it’s effective to use them.

And I don’t care whether you call St. John’s Wort and Echinacea as “dietary supplements” or “health aids” or anything else. They’re still drugs. And if you think that we as a society should test drugs before they’re released for sale, then we should test all drugs before they’re released for sale.

I’d think that anyone concerned about their and their families’ health would want to see that!

posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 06:39 PM
I agree that all substances sold to the public should undergoe safety measures, I suppose I was taking a personal stance. recently in europe many herbal remedies and natural medicine is being banned... and personaly I believe the hisorical use of Echinacea as a precautionary herb has shown its safety if used correctly. though I know its not a formal scientific study/conclusion. I am more scientific than not, however healing is a multi layered art. It is kown that if most doctors spent two or three times as long 'talking' to there patients than writing a note for tablets, the benefits to healing and recovery are huge. Another point here that thos such 'legal' drugs which many westerners are hooked on, be them painkillers or pyschologicaly altering ones create massive problems both in society and individually. So myself thinking that anyhow, and believing that we need to integrate the knowledge and practise of both traditional medicine and modern motivated my maybe short responce, nothing personal to you. I am no expert in this area , just sharing my experiance and view on it, your lifestyle sounds nice being soo close to nature. Keep njoying. I still believe we have a lot to learn still about 'holistic' healing from native knowledge and practice.


posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 08:42 PM
I dont take that suppliment but i have not had a cold in the last ten years. I do take vitamin c regular in 1 mg pills.

posted on Jul, 30 2005 @ 10:18 AM
Elf, I agree with you. I find myself torn between two philosophies: my desire to have all drugs treated the same way as far as being tested and reported on; and the anger tht the government thinks it has a right to tell us what we can or cannot put in our own bodies.

Inasmuch as we're funding these bozos to the tune of billions of dollars annually, I'd like to think that one thing they could do is to investigate every drug (whether pharma- or otherwise) tell us (the folks who pay their salaries) how the study was carried out, and the results, along with recommendations...

...then let us make up our own minds! My wife and I medicate ourselves to an extent; we take vitamins and other supplements. Since I have two colleagues who are professional drug dealers (MDs) I can get government-controlled drugs, like antibiotics, beta blockers, H2 blockers, statins, and the other stuff -- if I choose to.

The bottom line is that I choose to do this or not do that, and we should all be able to do it. I think the idea of Europe banning herbal remedies, including that well-known herb used as a palliative for glaucoma and chemotherapy sickness, is a bad thing indeed.

And your point about the doctor spending more time talking is right on the money. At CIGNA, our HMO, we have a "doctor of record", but we always make an appointment with a particular Nurse Practitioner who knows us both, spends at least ten minutes per session just asking questions about our health and general well-being (and even a little gossip) and then tells us that there are two or three approaches to our problem, explains each one, recommends one, and then lets us decide if we should take that recommendation or another.

Not very efficient, but I know she is a trustworthy person.

You say, "I still believe we have a lot to learn still about 'holistic' healing from native knowledge and practice."

I agree there, too.

And when you come to Arizona for your vacation, I can recommend a couple of fun tour guides/docents when you visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum !

[edit on 30-7-2005 by Off_The_Street]

posted on Aug, 6 2005 @ 05:37 AM
Echinacaea test.
We all (should) know that the chemical pharmaceutical industry is at war with natural, herbal, homeopathic and alternative medicine, seeing it as a competition to kill. I have worked many years in renowned European pharmaceutical companies and had much insight "behind the curtains". They go to any length to prove that effective natural remedies are useless or harmful (the latter in order to have them forbidden). You may have heard about a researcher at a research laboratory who decades ago in a private study found that Laetrile is effective. He lost his job and his documents "disappeared". I know a physician who worked in the personnel medical service in a major European pharmaceutical company. He quite naively proposed to the management that the homeopathic principle might be studied within that service, and lost his job…
Or the other way around. It was discovered in the 70es that aluminum (from cooking pots, cans, etc.) is a factor contributing to Alzheimer. Soon the aluminum industry had several "scientific" studies out "proving" that aluminum is harmless. Saridon (containing phenacetin) was sold in huge quantities in the 60es, but found to cause kidney damage after prolonged use. There later were many cases of "Saridon kidneys" on dialysis… The manufacturer persisted in denying this fact for many years, claiming to have "proof" that this would not be so. But at the end they had to yield to massive case pressure and take it from the market. At that time it wasn’t yet common to sue companies for medical damage.
Research laboratories and clinics are highly dependent upon support from the pharmaceutical industries for their existence. When a certain investigation is ordered, it is often the desired result that is really order and not an objective research. The order involves - only mentioned orally or at most hinted on between the lines, but never spelled out in the contract: "We expect this result… and your job is to find a way to prove it". And if the researcher doesn’t, he may never again get support of or a new contract with that industry…
Apparently an earlier negative study of Echinacaea used extracts from the least active part of the plant and this study used much too low doses and studied not the important preventive effect (to be sought when colds are going around or when you have the very first sign that you might get one), but the effect of an already massively manifested cold. The latter effect can naturally be expected to be far less…
JES (Dr. of medical engineering)

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