Echinacea Conference 2012

 

Echinacea in today’s world

Respiratory tract infections are the most frequently encountered illnesses in the Western world. These infections encompass common colds and flu, both of which may be manifested by a wide variety of symptoms – from slight nasal stuffiness, an itching throat, to pulsating headaches, chesty cough and fever.

An alternative approach is to support the body’s own immune mechanism, falling back on the principle that the human organism is able to defend itself naturally against viruses and bacteria. It is here that Echinacea purpurea claims a unique therapeutic role. A few standardised Echinacea products carry the status of registered medicines with indications covering support of the immune system and / or the prevention and acute treatment of cold and flu symptoms.

In the recent past, research on a special extract of Echinacea purpurea (Echinaforce®) has intensified, mainly as a consequence of our experience with newly occurring respiratory viruses (Influenza or Coronaviruses), the novel understanding of pharmacological mechanisms of respiratory infections and the known weaknesses of available therapies.

In September 2012, a scientific conference on Echinaforce® was held in London, where experts in the fields of respiratory infections, immunology and virology reported their experience of the extract in the context of colds and flu. The event saw the presentation of new data from the largest prevention study using Echinacea.

 

The antiviral activity of Echinaforce®

Prof. Pleschka, University Giessen, Germany
The predominance of viruses in cold and flu infections has repeatedly been outlined. They are involved in 90 to 95 % of episodes.

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The immunological effects of Echinaforce®

Dr. M. Ritchie, University of London, United Kingdom
An intact immune system is a pre-requisite for successful immune defence as seen in patients with AIDS, where even opportunistic infections can lead to death(12). However in colds and flu it was recently argued that simply boosting the immune system might be the last thing you want to do(4).

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Safety and efficacy of Echinaforce® in long-term prevention of colds and flu

Prof. R. Eccles, University Cardiff, United Kingdom
Respiratory viruses and diseases such as colds and flu are common from October until April and any preventive treatment should be effective and safe to take throughout the whole winter season.

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The importance of Echinaforce® in today’s world

Prof. A. Schapowal, Landquart, Switzerland
Colds and flu present a significant interference to an individual’s productivity, physical fitness, wellbeing and vitality, and they are also burdens to the whole health care system. These infections have the potential to lead to complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis or sinusitis, exacerbate existing asthma and COPD, and are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality.

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