XII.  Conclusion

        Detailed research on the World Wide Web unveiled numerous claims about Echinacea being the “cure-all herb.”  Evidence on the Web disclosed little evidence supporting the claims that Echinacea cures everything from bad breath to gangrene.  However, some evidence was found on the Web supporting the claims the Echinacea is beneficial to common cold and cancer victims.

        Medical journals found at Vanderbilt’s Biomedical Library presented strong evidence that Echinacea is a non-toxic immune system booster.  According to recent studies, Echinacea stimulates macrophages to become more effective in killing cancer cells and microorganisms.  In addition, another study showed evidence that Echinacea induced the same stimulation of macrophages as did cancer cells and microorganisms.  Furthermore, a series of studies reported that Echinacea promotes phagocytic activity by 22.7% to 54%.  Another study performed in 1997 concluded that Echinacea enhanced natural killer cells activity.  All these studies showed stimulation and/or enhancement of immune system cells vital to fighting off cancer cells and microorganisms.  One can logically conclude that Echinacea has immune system booting capabilities.

        At this point in time, most of the claims being made on the World Wide Web lack trustworthy evidence.  The many claims about Echinacea warding off allergies, herpes, cancer, toothaches, etc. have no scientific data to support them.  Since Echinacea is an immune system booster it shows promise in treating many of the claims, especially those in regards to benefiting common cold and cancer sufferers.  However, I have not come across any credible studies supporting any of the claims about Echinacea, except for its immune boosting abilities.  Much of the research on Echinacea has been performed in Germany and is still unavailable to non-German speakers.  Echinacea holds much promise as being a “miracle drug,” but many more studies are needed to solidify any of these claims.


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