Good Essay About Review On The Use Of Echinacea Products To Treat Common Cold
Common colds are benign self-limited illnesses mostly caused by rhinoviruses. The condition has a large socioeconomic impact. There is no specific antiviral treatment for infections by the rhinovirus. A lot of alternative treatments for common colds are, however, available (Turner, Bauer, Woelkart, Hulsey, & Gangemi, 2005). Echinacea preparations were first used to treat common colds in the late 1800s. There was renewed interest in their use after the enactment of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in 1994. The act liberalized the regulation of herbal medications (Turner et al., 2005). This paper will review a randomized controlled trial by Turner et al. (2005) on the effects of Echinacea on rhinovirus infection. The trial is entitled “An evaluation of Echinacea angustifolia in experimental Rhinovirus infections.”
The study established that none of the three extracts of echinacea had statistically significant effects on the rates of infection with the Rhinovirus or severity of symptoms. In addition, treatment with the extracts had no significant effects on the quantitative titers of the virus, volume of nasal secretions, or concentrations of interleukin-8 or polymorphonuclear leukocytes. The authors of the study thus concluded that the results of their study suggest that extracts of E. angustifolia roots, used alone or in combination, have no clinically significant effects on rhinovirus infections or the clinical illness that ensues.
As an advanced nursing practitioner, the results of this study would influence the recommendations I would make to my patients with regards to questions about whether they can use Echinacea angustifolia products to treat common cold. Although the study had some weaknesses as it only studied 3 of Echinacea angustifolia extracts which has many components, this is not the only study to conclude that there is no evidence of the herb’s efficacy in treating common cold. A meta-analytic review by Linde, Barett, Wolkart, Bauer, & Melchart (2006) arrived at similar conclusions. The study included 16 trials and concluded that the beneficial effects of Echinacea angustifolia preparations other than those of the aerial parts are yet to be proved in rigorous randomized trials. The benefits of the aerial parts in treating common cold are also controversial as studies have reported conflicting findings.
In summary, this paper has reviewed a randomized trial by Turner et al. (2005). The trial sought to evaluate the efficacy of three chemically defined extracts of Echinacea angustifolia as prophylaxis and treatment for Rhinovirus infection. The findings of the trial suggest that the three extracts of the herb have no clinically significant effect on the development or resolution of common cold. As an advanced nurse practitioner, I would not recommend Echinacea products to my patients. My decision is informed by the findings of the Turner et al. (2005) trial as well as those of a meta-analytic review by Linde et al. (2006).
Linde, K., Barett, B., Wolkart, K., Bauer, R., & Melchart, D. (2006). Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev., 25(1).
Turner, R. B., Bauer, R., Woelkart, K., Hulsey, T.C., & Gangemi, J. D. (2005). An evaluation of Echinacea angustifolia in experimental Rhinovirus infections. The New England Journal of Medicine, 353, 341-348.
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