Common ColdEchinaceaInfection

A positive review for echinacea and the common cold

This review was presented previously at the American College of Clinical Pharmacology meeting and is reported here. It’s now been published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

However, since there’s no abstract available, I’ve used the article published on

Researchers from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy analyzed 14 studies on the use of echinacea to relieve and protect against colds.

  • Echinacea can shorten the duration of colds by about 1.4 days.
  • When used to prevent “natural” catching of cold, it reduced the incidence 65%.
  • Following direct inoculation with the cold-causing rhinovirus, echinacea reduced cold incidence by 35%.

The bottom line?
This sounds good, but there are several caveats, including another review that came to mixed conclusions after reviewing the same studies, presumably.

Before researchers come to a consensus on the value of echinacea to prevent or treat the common cold, better studies will be needed. We’re looking for “large-scale randomized prospective studies controlling for variables such as species, quality of preparation and dose of echinacea, method of cold induction, and objectivity of study endpoints.”

6/25/07 10:43 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.