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Echinacea—How to Take it and How Studies Show it may Help Us

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If you haven’t tried the herbal remedy echinacea before and you are planning on running out to buy some, it’s worth noting that it’s not typically taken like most vitamins, minerals, and other herbal remedies. In other words, you shouldn’t add echinacea to your daily routine and take 2 tablets a day forever or something like that. Research shows that echinacea is best taken in shorter amounts of time, with breaks in between. Doctors used to suggest that echinacea be taken every day for three to six weeks during cold and flu season, but now it is suggested that you take it maybe the day before and the day after you volunteer in your kid’s kindergarten class, or maybe the day before and the day of airline travel.

Studies indicate that if you are already feeling poorly, echinacea may help you feel better faster and for your symptoms to calm down sooner. Many people also use echinacea to help them right off recurring respiratory infections like sinusitis and bronchitis in both kids and adults. One study of over 500 children between the ages of two and 11 was conducted during the winter months of 2000 to 2002. The researchers who worked on the study found that the children who took echinacea after experiencing the first upper respiratory infection had a 28 percent less chance of getting a recurrent infection.

Echinacea has also been linked favorably to treating other health issues like urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, cuts, scrapes, and canker sores. The reason it may be used for skin issues is that echinacea acts as a natural antibiotic and it may help fight infection. As a result, many people like echinacea to try to treat any type of skin irritation.

Some people have had luck using echinacea to help fight chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS. No one seems to be 100 percent sure what causes CFS, but one idea is that it has to do with the body’s response to a viral infection that acts by permanently weakening the immune system. Thus, if you boost the immune system through taking echinacea, it might help you.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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