Advertisement

What is echinacea?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Come cold and flu season, we see hordes of patients taking echinacea to ward off a budding bug. An herbal powder derived from the leaves and stems of the coneflower, echinacea was a popular folk remedy, and some limited research suggests that it can boost the body's natural immunity.

Unfortunately, the very few studies on echinacea in Germany and the United States have produced mixed results. Some found an immune system benefit, but others found no positive effect (and a few even hinted at negative ones). At this stage, we really don't have any proof as to whether it works or not. You might be better putting that $6 toward a piping hot bowl of chicken soup—which has been proven beneficial by scientific research and grandma.
YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

More About this Book

YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

Everyone needs to become a smart patient. In fact, in the worst cases, your life may even depend on it. Number one bestselling authors and doctors Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz have written this...

Continue Learning about Echinacea

Does echinacea prevent colds?
HealthyWomenHealthyWomen
The herbal remedy echinacea gets a lot of attention for its claims to prevent colds and flu or for m...
More Answers
How can taking echinacea help me get over a cold?
RealAgeRealAge
Echinacea may reduce the severity and perhaps duration of some upper respiratory infections. Tak...
More Answers
What Are the Health Benefits of Echinacea?
What Are the Health Benefits of Echinacea?
Can Echinacea Boost My Immune System?
Can Echinacea Boost My Immune System?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.