Study on Echinacea is largest study ever on natural medicine and children
(Kenmore, WA 12-2-03) For the first time ever, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published a research study in which Bastyr University played a key role.
The study is the largest ever on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatment for children. The second and third authors of the study are from Bastyr University. The study was done in collaboration with the principal investigator from the University of Washington and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center.
Bastyr University has long been committed to advancing natural medicine thru a science based curriculum and rigorous research. Bastyr President Thomas C. Shepherd, DHA, says “this study is further evidence of the growing interest in collaborative research, where conventional medical institutions seek out the specialized expertise of a university like Bastyr, which is focused on botanical medicine. Being published in JAMA is another significant “first” for Bastyr and we are proud of the quality of the research.”
Bastyr researcher Wendy Weber, ND, MPH, notes that there is a growing interest in collaborative research, especially as the National Institutes of Health significantly increases the amount of money available for CAM research. She points out that “millions of Americans use these products and it’s imperative that the public and health care providers understand the appropriate uses of herbal medicines like Echinacea. Our research is a significant contribution to the body of existing research and should help parents and providers make better treatment decisions.”
The treatment study finds that the form of Echinacea at the dose used in the study did not lessen the length or severity of a cold, once a child has contracted it. Weber points out that conventional over-the-counter medicines also show little efficacy for the treatment of colds in children. An interesting finding is that children taking Echinacea experienced fewer second and third colds than children on placebo. This data is currently being analyzed to determine if Echinacea may have had a preventive effect on subsequent colds. The authors hope to have this data published in the next year.
Echinacea is a widely used herbal remedy for both the treatment and prevention of upper respiratory infections (URI’s) but there has been little data on its efficacy in pediatric patients. 524 children were studied as part of this randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Researchers looked at both the efficacy of treatment and possible side effects of Echinacea therapy. Weber says that although researchers found no difference in severity or length of the URI, they did find a significantly higher occurrence of rash in children taking Echinacea. Weber and the other researchers conclude that other Echinacea preparations and dosing regimens may be effective for the treatment of colds, even though the product they tested in children was not.
Bastyr University is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the study of natural healing and is the leading university for natural health sciences in the United States. Bastyr encompasses a multidisciplinary and rigorous curriculum, a world-renowned research institute and the largest natural health clinic in the state of Washington.