This popular herb comes in many forms. E. Purpurea is believed to be the most potent. Echinacea leaves and roots are purported to have mild antiviral and antibacterial properties. Research results are contradictory, and to date the effective uses for this herb are not well-established.
Attention for Liver Disease: Increased risk of liver toxicity when used with other potentially hepatotoxic substances/drugs. Because it appears to interact with cytochrome p-450 metabolized substances, do not take echinacea during HCV treatment.
Safety Information: Probably safe when used as recommended. Avoid if diabetic. Theoretically can interfere with immune function. Patients with HIV, cancer, TB, low white blood count or autoimmune diseases (MS, Lupus, etc.) should avoid or use cautiously.
Interactions: May interact with any cytochrome p-450 metabolized substances (read about Cytochrome P-450 in this glossary). Avoid if taking immune suppression drugs, interferon, or Kava. May increase caffeine concentration in the body. The safety for children, pregnant and nursing mothers is not established.
Lab Notes: May lower white blood cell count.
Note: Do not use for more than 8 consecutive weeks.