Does Echinacea Really Help Cure a Cold?
A comprehensive study of the effect Echinacea has on treating the common cold has deemed the herb insignificant.
The study followed 719 people aged 12 to 80 starting when they were in the early stages of developing a cold. The participants were randomly divided up into three groups – those taking a pill they new was Echinacea, those taking no pill and those taking a pill which could be either Echinacea or a sugar pill.
The results found that cold symptoms were not reduced by taking the herb, and the duration of the cold was only seven to 10 hours less in the Echinacea group – an insignificant margin which could have been established by chance.
Also called Black Susan or cone flower, Echinacea has been used for hundreds of years as part of natural medicine. It has specifically been under the scientific microscope in recent years as a cure for the common cold, marketed as such in several over-the-counter remedy products. But this new research indicates that the Echinacea trend is due to come to an end.
However, some other holistic heavy-weights in the cold fighting category have not been ruled out by professionals as of yet. The Globe and Mail’s Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based nutritionist, stands behind Vitamin C, Zinc and garlic as effective remedies.
Beck states that while Vitamin C does not have preventative properties, taking 2,000 milligrams daily at the onset of a cold might reduce symptoms and shorten the lifespan of the virus by a full day. Zinc is believed to also reduce symptoms and cut a cold short, she points out, due to its ability to prevent replication of the virus. Dosages of Zinc should not exceed 50 milligrams per day.
And garlic is the champion as it is believed to actually prevent the onset of a cold by boosting the body’s ability to fight viruses. Raw garlic is considered more effective than cooked at both preventing colds and clearing elevators.