HUDSON, NY – Bioforce USA announced that its research team at Bioforce AG, based in Roggwil, Switzerland, discerned three major flaws in the study by Taylor et al., entitled “Efficacy and Safety in Treating Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Children, published in the December 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The three key flawed areas concern test medication, study design and efficacy.
According to Bioforce researchers, the children were given a syrup containing dried and pressed Echinacea purpurea above-ground herb juice, a product not commercially available and one whose production process is nebulous.
“There is neither a tradition nor any scientific knowledge available about this syrup,” says Eileen Sheets, director of product management and regulatory affairs for Bioforce USA. “Available scientific studies demonstrating echinacea’s efficacy have been performed on specific alcohol extracts processed in well-documented ways. For example, in the alcoholic preparations, the active substances such as alkylamides, caffeoyl derivatives, polysaccharides, glycoproteins and alkaloids are increased and available to the body. However, in pressed juice, mainly hydrophilic components are isolated, likely rendering the syrup used in the JAMA study ineffective.”
Although the study planning, execution and subsequent statistical analyses were solid, according to the Bioforce AG research team, there were shortcomings in the design that may have influenced the outcome.
First, bias was present in the detection and judgment of symptoms—which were done by both parents and the children. States of symptoms and overall health were not considered directly nor scaled appropriately by physicians.
In addition, says Sheets, a more critical factor is that the test syrup was first administered too late. “In our experience and that of former researchers, it is known that echinacea works effectively when taken at the immediate onset of the first symptoms. In this case, the children were given the medication when the URI was already more or less well expressed. This means that the viral replication was already advanced.”
The JAMA study authors also noted that the placebo group overall took more vitamin/mineral supplements than the test group, likely influencing outcome further.
The study itself inadvertently demonstrated and underscored previous work on Echinacea purpurea. Unfortunately, this message was ignored by the media. In the JAMA study, although symptoms and duration of URI were not reduced with the echinacea syrup, the echinacea group experienced significantly fewer second and third upper respiratory tract infections during the four months of observation.
Echinaforce is one of several long-standing and relied upon products of Bioforce. Manufactured at the company’s headquarters in Switzerland, Echinaforce is made under strict pharmaceutical quality control standards (GMPs) for purity, standardization, safety and efficacy. Echinaforce is a tincture made from 95% fresh Echinacea purpurea and 5% fresh echinacea root. According to Sheets, the advantages of the tincture occur in its rapid absorption in the body and the lack of absorption-inhibiting substances such as complex carbohydrates, fibers, and excipients. In addition, the alcohol serves to preserve the freshness of the plant elements, thereby ensuring efficacy through retail shelf-life and consumer storage.
Bioforce USA sells Echinaforce tincture in 1.7-fl.-oz. and 3.4-fl.-oz. sizes, and in 120-tablet bottles.