The British version of the FDA - The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency – has issued some guidance about echinacea in that country. The warning says that echinacea — a herbal supplement made from the echinacea plant — should not be used by children under 12 years old. The warning says ”the perceived benefits of the use of echinacea in children under 12 years are outweighed by the potential risks in this age-group and there is a low risk of allergic reactions but these could be severe. ”
The warning continues: ““This is not a serious safety issue, but parents and carers need to be aware that children under 12 could have a low risk of developing allergic reactions, such as rashes from oral echinacea products.”
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Three species of echinacea are commonly used for medicinal purposes: Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea. Many echinacea preparations contain one, two, or even all three of these species. Different products use different parts of the echinacea plant. This is why the effectiveness of echinacea may differ from one product to another.”
Also, U of M says: “ Whether or not echinacea helps prevent or treat the common cold remains under debate. Some studies have shown that the herb can make you feel better faster. Others suggest that echinacea has no impact on a cold at all. Several clinical trials have shown that people who take echinacea as soon as they feel sick reduce the severity of their cold and have fewer symptoms than those who do not take the herb. One study of 95 people with early symptoms of cold and flu (such as runny nose, scratchy throat, and fever) found that those who drank several cups of echinacea tea every day for 5 days felt better sooner than those who drank tea without echinacea.
A review of 14 clinical trials found that echinacea reduced the odds of developing a cold by 58% and the duration of a cold by 1 – 4 days. However, some experts dispute these findings claiming that there were several weaknesses in the analyses. Echinacea preparations tested in clinical trials differ greatly.” Read more: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/echinacea-000239.htm#ixzz24IswRLnP