Echinacea, A Natural Alternative Dietary Supplement | Health Blog

Date: 06/25/2007    Written by: Jon Barron

Echinacea Studies, Again


I'm not really sure why people are so enamored of peer reviewed studies. Depending on your methodology, you can get them to prove anything. We've had peer reviewed studies that prove hormone replacement therapy is helpful, that it's harmful, that it works, that it doesn't work, and that in only works for five years around menopause. If you can get a peer reviewed study to come out with continually contradicting results, how much value can it have?

Which brings us to Echinacea!

A peer reviewed study released today finds that Echinacea is effective at preventing and reversing colds. This is in total contradiction of several previous peer reviewed studies that proved it didn't. At the time, I said the previous studies used flawed methodologies.

Is the new study using better methodology? Not necessarily, although it claims to – and claims the previous studies used flawed methodology. Although peer reviewed studies are considered the Holy Grail of medicine (I am often asked, “Where are your peer reviewed studies on alternative health treatment?”). They aren't really that reliable. You can get them to say anything.

In the end, anecdotal evidence, especially when it comes from centuries of report, has equal validity.

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    Submitted by Brian Vizor on
    January 10, 2009 - 12:54am

    My wife is taking strong antibiotics for clostidium difficile(bacteria in the bowel). Would it be beneficial to take acidophilus as well as Actimel yoghurts to help replace the good bacteria in the gut? Also to aid the immune system? Or does one counteract the other?

    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    January 10, 2009 - 4:06am

    The antibiotics are going to kill any probiotics she takes now. That's what antibiotics do -- kill bacteria. When finished with the antibiotics, though, she will want to supplement with more than acidophilus to rebuild the beneficial bacteria lost throughout her intestinal tract. Check out the report on probiotics.

    Submitted by lee on
    March 17, 2009 - 9:02pm

    I have read so many health reports from many sources (including mainstream journals, like JAMA, et. al.) and I am uncertain if Echinacaea is safe; particularly for those who have cysts, tumors, or cancer. Any qualified medical opinions are much appreciated. Also, any views about MMS and colloidal silver (tetrasil- injections or injested) would be appreciated.

    Submitted by Leslie Sprinkle on
    August 5, 2007 - 1:15pm

    My question is:
    Why don't they do their ""pick-apart"" studies on the Rx's before they're released to the unsuspecting public?
    Also,if natural herbs, etc. have no healing
    properties and can't be trusted.....

    Submitted by Sandy Halliday on
    June 26, 2007 - 2:30pm

    According to Prof Ernst here in the UK Andrographis paniculta (known as Indian Echinacea)although less well known is more effective in 6 studies for fighting colds.
    Have you heard of this and what do you think?

    Submitted by VitaMan on
    December 7, 2008 - 1:47pm

    Echinacea works. It doesn't cure anything, it's not a wonder drug, but it *helps* your immune system fight off colds. I have a family member who use to be prone to colds. All winter, every winter. I got him on Echinacea a few years ago and while he still gets sick, it's a LOT less often, he gets better faster, and it doesn't hit him as hard, so he doesn't have to miss work most of the time.
    Every study in existence is going to be flawed. No matter how 'scientific' they are, somebody is paying for it. So unless it is Nintendo paying for a study to be done on the effects of Black Cohosh for heat flashes, the study is going to be biased. Personally I think the best thing for us to follow is the centuries of use in ancient cultures.

    Submitted by xinle on
    May 28, 2009 - 5:07am

    I have a child 6 years old, he has rheumatic fever , doctor suggest to take antibiotics Erythromycin everyday until he is 16 years old. Should I do as what doctor said, or have a better natarul way to cure this sickness. What should i do? Thanks!

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