Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Echinacea, vitamin C help common cold?

Popular belief and traditional use
Echinacea is popularly believed to be an immunostimulator, stimulating the body's non-specific immune system and warding off infections.

Echinacea, vitamin C help common cold?
Echinacea is no better than a placebo at reducing the duration and severity of common cold, says the American College of Physicians.

The new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed echinacea, an herbal remedy widely used to treat the common cold, did not seem to shorten the cold duration.

Researchers examined the efficacy of echinacea on the duration and severity of common cold in 719 people ages 12 to 80 years with early common cold symptoms.

Those who received Echinacea experienced a slight decrease - seven to 10 hours - in the duration of their common cold symptoms, but the decrease was not considered significant. Neither was the decrease in severity.

The study was led by Bruce Barrett and colleagues of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.
There is no effective common cold treatment. Some over-the-counter medications may also be used, but none could shorten the duration either, according to the physician group.

The common cold symptoms include cough, congestion, sore throat, shivering, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and fever which disappear in seven to 10 days without any medical intervention.
Many other studies suggest that common cold remedies such as high doses of vitamin C may help the common cold.

A past review in the July 2007 issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases found echinacea was more effective than what this latest study suggests.
That review by Dr. Craig Coleman at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy in Connecticut found echinacea could reduce the odds of catching a cold by 58 percent and shorten the cold duration by an average of 1.4 days.
Echinacea together with vitamin C reduced the cold incidence by 86 percent.
The common cold also known as nasopharyngitis, acute viral rhinopharyngitis, acute coryza, or a cold is a mild viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system caused mainly by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses.
Another study of 30 published studies involving 11,350 people who took 200 milligrams of vitamin C a day found those on vitamin C reduced the risk of getting colds by 50 percent.
Hemilä H and colleagues of the University of Helsinki, Finland found the reduction in the risk of acquiring the common cold among a total of 642 marathon runners, skiers, and soldiers on sub-arctic exercises.
They also observed that vitamin C reduced the cold duration by 8 percent among adults and 13.6 percent among children.
The researchers suggest that vitamin C may not help reduce the risk of common cold among people in the normal environment, but it can be effective at preventing the common cold in those exposed to short periods of severe physical exercise or cold environments.
The review was published in the July 2007 issue of Cochran Database of Systematic Reviews.
Vitamin C is known to have an effect on a person's immunity.
Yet another trial led by Sasazuki S and colleagues from the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, Japan showed that high doses were more effective than low doses in preventing the common cold.
In that trial, 144 and 161 subjects were assigned to receive 50 mg or 500 mg of vitamin C for a period and found those who took 500 mg of vitamin C were 66 percent less likely to suffer the common cold.
But vitamin C did not seem to reduce the severity nor shorten the duration in those who did acquire the illness.
The researchers said more research is needed to confirm the benefit of taking vitamin C for the common cold.

Some alternative medicines may help reduce the severity and or duration of the common colds, other trials also suggested.

By David Liu and editing by Aimee Keenan-Greene

No comments:

Post a Comment