Will Taking Echinacea Help Me If I Feel As If I'm Coming Down With A Cold?

Victoria Maizes, M.D, Arizona

Question: Will taking echinacea help me if I feel as if I'm coming down with a cold?

Answer: There have been 16 randomized control trials of echinacea that have been carried out over the course of many years on almost 3,400 people, and while the data is mixed, on balance, echinacea has been shown to shorten both the duration and the severity of a cold. It's important to take it really at the first sign of a cold and to use it three or four times a day in the first 24 to 48 hours. It's also important to take the right dose. In some of the negative studies, the dose that was used is probably too low. What's recommended is 1,500 to 3,000 milligrams a day, and as I said, especially at the first sign and in the first 24 to 48 hours of the cold.

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