Posted on Sep 27, 2016, 6 a.m.
Combination of echinacea herb and root extract with elderberry may be as effective as prescription flu medication.
Seasonal influenza ("the flu") is a viral illness with symptoms that can include fever, chills, body aches, sore throat, and headache. Life-threatening complications, such as bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes, can occur. Karel Raus, from the Canadian Medical Centre (Czech Republic), and colleagues assessed 473 men and women with early flu symptoms (less than 48 hours); each received either 5 days of a prescription flu medication (oseltamivir) followed by 5 days of placebo, or 10 days of a beverage containing echinacea herb and root extract with elderberry. While a similar number of subjects recovered in both groups, those who took the herbal beverage displayed greater recovery rates at Day #5 (50.2% vs 48.8%) and Day #19 (90.1% vs 84.8%). Further, the incidence of complications was 2.46% in the herbal beverage group, as compared to 6.45% in the prescription group. Writing on their findings, the study authors submit that the herbal beverage “is as effective as oseltamivir in the early treatment of clinically diagnosed and virologically confirmed influenza virus infections with a reduced risk of complications and adverse events.”
Karel Raus, Stephan Pleschka, Peter Klein, Roland Schoop, Peter Fisher. “Effect of an Echinacea-Based Hot Drink Versus Oseltamivir in Influenza Treatment: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Double-Dummy, Multicenter, Noninferiority Clinical Trial.” Current Therapeutic Research, Dec. 2015, vol. 77, pp. 66-72.