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Echinacea Extract: A Comprehensive Study on its Antiviral Potency

With the perpetual evolution of viruses, finding effective and sustainable antiviral solutions is becoming more critical. A recent study on Echinacea purpurea has shed light on its potential therapeutic benefits against respiratory tract infections (RTIs).


Echinacea purpurea, a plant native to North America, has been known for its medicinal properties. Recent clinical studies have discovered its antiviral activity against respiratory viruses and its ability to modulate immune functions. This blog post delves into the details of the recent clinical trial that evaluated the efficiency of new Echinacea formulations against RTIs.

Clinical Trial: The Methodology

The clinical trial took place between November 2018 and January 2019, with the participation of 409 healthy adults. The participants were randomly assigned one of four Echinacea formulations. The new formulations A (lozenges) and B (spray) delivered an increased dose of 16,800 mg/d Echinacea extract during the initial three days and 2,240-3,360 mg/d afterward. Conventional formulations C (tablets) and D (drops) served as controls, delivering a lower daily dose of 2,400 mg, usually taken for prevention.

The primary endpoint was the time to clinical remission of the first RTI episodes based on the Kaplan-Meier analysis of patient-reported, investigator-confirmed, respiratory symptoms assessed for up to 10 days.


The study found that 246 participants treated for at least one RTI showed significant recovery by day 10. The complete absence of symptoms was achieved in 56% of patients with new formulations and 44% of patients with conventional formulations, showing a median time to recovery of 10 and 11 days, respectively. In a sensitivity analysis, new formulations resulted in a significantly shorter mean time to remission (9.6 vs. 11.0 days).

Viral Clearance

Among those with an identified respiratory virus, viral clearance until day 10 based on real-time PCR from nasopharyngeal swabs was more frequent with new formulations (70 vs. 53%).

Tolerability and Safety

The trial ensured good tolerability and safety between formulations, with adverse events being 12% vs. 6%. One severe adverse event with a potential hypersensitivity reaction was reported in a recipient of the novel spray formulation.


The trial concluded that in adults with acute RTI, new Echinacea formulations with higher doses resulted in faster viral clearance than conventional formulations in prophylactic dosages. The trend for faster clinical recovery was not significant by day 10 but became so upon extrapolation.


This trial's findings suggest that an increase in dose during acute respiratory symptoms might improve the clinical benefits of orally administered Echinacea formulations.

Trial Registration

The study was registered in the Swiss National Clinical Trials Portal (SNCTP000003069) and on (NTC03812900).

Future Research

While these results are promising, more research is needed to establish Echinacea as a potential natural antiviral remedy. Further studies should also focus on its long-term safety and effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

With this study, Echinacea has emerged as a potential candidate in the fight against respiratory viruses. If further research supports these findings, it could revolutionize the way we approach and treat RTIs. As we continue to battle the evolving threats of viruses, exploring such natural antiviral remedies is more important than ever.


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