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Echinacea's Flu-Fighting Abilities Praised by Recent Research

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Echinacea's Flu-Fighting Abilities Praised by Recent Research

This week, as the final installment of out four-part series about echinacea for the flu, we discuss the results of another study.

Is the flu quieting down across Canada? Not so fast—experts predict another (somewhat smaller) peak in early February. How do we keep our immune systems strong and avoid getting the flu? Well, how about a quick trip to your local health food store?

While many of us have heard of—and used—echinacea before, this mighty herb is getting some much-deserved new attention for its role as a powerful flu-fighter, due to recent research. We’ve covered three influential studies on standardized extracts of echinacea in the past three weeks. Today, it’s our final installment in the series, and time to explore another study.

Echinacea adapts to our needs

This recent study, published in Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, measured changes in immune system activity in the blood of 30 people who had taken standardized extracts of echinacea for eight days.

The study participants’ blood showed anti-inflammation activity, as well as more immune system activity in those will less immune activity at the beginning of the study. Interestingly, the researchers found that echinacea stimulates our immune systems, but seems to do so differently for different groups of people, based on their current immune system activity and stress levels. Therefore, echinacea adapts to people’s needs, so people who are run-down can get enough of a boost, but our immune systems won’t be overstimulated either.

The researchers conclude that the standardized extract “regulates the production of chemokines and cytokines according to current immune status, such as responsiveness to exogenous stimuli, susceptibility to viral infection and exposure to stress.”

Want to learn more?

Check out part one, part two, and part three of our series for more research highlights about echinacea.

Join the Twitter party!

Missed out on the last “Beat The Flu” Twitter Party hosted by A. Vogel? It’s not too late—they’re hosting another!

It takes place Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 8 pm EST / 5 pm PST. Just log on to Twitter and use the hashtag #BeatTheFlu. Participants will also be entered to win prizes from A. Vogel.

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