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Echinacea tea blend shortens duration of cold symptoms

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study of 95 people, treatment with an echinacea tea preparation (Echinacea Plus®, Traditional Medicinals) early in the course of a cold or flu was significantly more effective in relieving symptoms than a placebo tea. For the 90-day study, participants reported for assignment to one of two treatment groups at the first onset of cold and flu symptoms (scratchy throat, runny nose, fever, etc.). The subjects drank 5 to 6 cups a day of echinacea or placebo tea on the first day of symptoms, reducing the dosage to 1 cup per day for the next five days. Results were assessed with a questionnaire that measured symptom relief, duration of symptoms, and time before subjects noticed a difference in symptoms. The echinacea tea was significantly more effective than placebo in all parameters measured. No side effects were reported in either group. Echinacea Plus is a proprietary blend of E. purpurea and E. angustifolia leaves, flowers, and stems, a water soluble dry extract of E. purpurea root, and flavoring herbs. Eater's Digest® (Traditional Medicinals) was selected as the placebo tea because it was not expected to have a significant effect on cold or flu symptoms at the dosages used in this study. Among other herbs, Eater's Digest contains cinnamon, ginger, and peppermint. Lindenmuth GF, Lindenmuth EB. The efficacy of echinacea compound herbal tea preparation on the severity and duration of upper respiratory and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2000; 6(4): 327-334.

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