Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wait, Echinacea DOES Help Colds?

Last year I mentioned in a post how echinacea probably doesn't do anything for colds. This backedup research from 2005 that found echinacea didn't work any better than a placebo in fighting colds. But according to the latest research, "echinacea may not only help reduce the symptoms of a cold but may help prevent infection with some cold viruses," according to a CNN report.

What are we supposed to believe?

According to the University of Connecticut's Dr. Craig Coleman, who worked on the latest study, previous research only studied one type of cold virus. That's a problem since there are around 200 differnt viruses that cause a cold. Also, the 2005 research I cited earlier was done on a much smaller group than the U Conn study.

Results from the latest research show echinacea cuts cold risk by 58 percent. Take it with vitamin C and your risk goes down 86 percent. That's a pretty big impact.

For the conspiracy nuts out there, consider this: "drug companies cannot patent such a widely used herbal product," according to the CNN report. Am I suggesting that drug companies, a government influenced by the drug lobby, or schools influenced by withheld funding have tampered with, or controled previous echinacea research? Maybe not in a positve way. It could be that the wrong research (stuff that focuses on one kind of cold virus and small sample sizes) has gotten all the funding. How crazy does that sound next to another of today's headlines: "CIA
Turned to Mobsters in an Effort to Kill Fidel Castro."

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About Me

My photo
I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.