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Echinacea

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(Echinacea purpurea)

Availability

Liquid, tincture, tablets, capsules, creams

Pharmacology

Echinacea, a genus of plant otherwise known as purple coneflower from the daisy family, is extracted from the root and other parts of the plant for use in the preparation of the herbal supplement. Although two other species of echinacea, E. pallida (pale purple coneflower) and E. angustifolia (narrow leaf purple coneflower) may be sold for use, the one most often recognized for use is E. purpurea.

Echinacea has been shown to stimulate phagocytosis (ingestion and digestion of bacteria and particles by white blood cells and lymphocytes), stimulate production of interleukin factors, and enhance the release of cytokines. 13 The constiuents of echinacea also demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties.

Components of echinacea include flavonoids, water soluable polysamlharides, lipophitic components, and water soluable conjugates. The amounts used in any formula of echinacea will depend on the species, which part of the plant used, and what method is used to manufacture it. It has yet to be evaluated by the FDA for purity, safety, or effectiveness.

Echinacea’s classification is defined by the U.S. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, Oct. 25, 1994, and states that to be a nutritional supplement it should contain one or more of the following dietary ingredients: a vitamin, mineral, amino acid, herb or other botanical; and that it be intended for ingestion in the form of a pill, capsule, tablet, gel-cap or liquid form. Also, that it not be represented as a conventional food or as a sole item of a meal or the diet, and that it is labeled as a dietary supplement.

Echinacea is considered to be supportive treatment and should not replace antibiotic therapy. It seems to achieve better results when used at the first sign of illness.

Not recommended at this time for pregnant or lactating females.

Indications

Echinacea is commonly used as a supplement to stimulate the immune system of the body. It is most often seen used in the treatment of upper respiratory infections and urinary tract infections. Echinacea has also been used topically in the treatment of wounds, abscesses, skin ulcers, and burns.

In animals, research indicates that when echinacea was applied before a topical irritant was applied, there was a reduction in both paw and ear edema. 15

Drug Interactions or Contraindications

Echinacea may alter effects of immunosuppressive agents such as dexamethasone, prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone, and hydrocortisone.
Discuss the use of echinacea with veterinarian prior to using with these medications.

*Note: It has been advised that the use of echinacea in humans with autoimmune disorders, or immune deficiency disorders (eg, cancer), should be avoided.*

Adverse Reactions

None reported in rat’s at recommended dosage.

Side effects in humans have been reported as hypersensitivity reaction in those that are allergic to sunflower seeds.

Dosage Recommendations

The following dosages are empirical, and should be given at the earliest sign of illness. Efficacy has not been determined.

Give one to two drops twice daily of Children’s fruit flavored, alcohol free, liquid echinacea. Dose schedule recommended is: one week on, and two to three weeks off, and then repeat.

Echinacea can be used in combined form with another similar herbal agent, Goldenseal.

Considerations

  • Echinacea is considered a dietary supplement only, and complimentary to other forms of approved treatment. If your rat is currently on a medication, dietary, or other prescribed treatment regimen, do not stop treatment. Consult with a veterinarian prior to using a herbal supplement with other medications.
  • Prophylactic or prolonged use may result in the over stimulation or suppression of the immune system.
  • May be taken with food or water. It is recommended when giving echinacea to your rat that is in liquid, extract, or tincture form. Also to use a dropper and add to a bite size piece of food.
  • Keep in tightly closed container.

Posted on July 5, 2003, 21:43, Last updated on June 19, 2014, 12:48 | Herbals / Health Supplements



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