Phytomedicinal preparations from members of the genus Echinacea are popular worldwide and frequently used to treat upper respiratory infections. With the increasing popularity of herbal medicines, many people are making their own Echinacea extracts at home and storing them at refrigerator (4 degrees C) temperatures. We tested the hypothesis that Echinacea extracts made using homemade methods change in immunomodulatory efficacy with storage at 4 degrees C over a 4-day period.
Three extract types (50% ethanol tincture, cold water infusion, hot water infusion) from 5 different species (Echinacea angustifolia, E. pallida, E. purpurea, E. sanguinea, E. tennesseensis) were prepared. Four in vitro immune assays (monocyte secretion of TNF-alpha, IL-10, and IL-12; and peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation) using human blood were used to test extract efficacy at Days 1 and 4 post-extraction. Two statistical analyses, traditional ANOVA and several statistical models that account for endotoxin effects, were used.
Endotoxin was found to significantly impact immune outcomes only in 4-day old cold water infusions and not in all assays. Extracts showed the greatest stimulation in TNF-alpha assays. By extract type, 50% ethanol tinctures produced the most immune stimulation. By species, extracts from E. angustifolia extracts were the most efficacious in our assays; extracts from E. sanguinea showed the least activity overall.
Taken together, these results suggest that: (1) homemade Echinacea extracts are efficacious in modulating immune cell activity in vitro but that their properties change with time during storage at 4 degrees C; and (2) endotoxin effects from extracts may be important considerations in the analysis of immunobiological data.
"origins by combining a number of plant extracts and inorganic compounds suspected to possess antimicrobial and/or immunomodulatory properties. Echinacea angustifolia has been shown to be the most potent Echinacea species with respect to immune modulation  . Recent studies show that Echinacea has both anti-inflammatory and antiinfluenza effects . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ekybion is a drug complex of 16 natural extracts and inorganic compounds designed to treat a variety of respiratory pathogens of bacterial and viral origin. It is licensed throughout Europe for the treatment of respiratory tract infections from equine parainfluenza type 3 and equine herpes virus type 1 in equine stables. The purpose of this paper was to test the efficacy of Ekybion on a well-developed animal model of influenza A infection and determine a mode of action. Experiments were performed with Balb/c mice infected with a lethal dose of influenza A/PR/8/34 H1N1 virus and treated with nebulized Ekybion every 8 h in a time-dependant or dose-dependant fashion. These experiments showed that mice treated prior to infection with Ekybion had a higher survival rates (~46%) compared with untreated animals (~0%). Paradoxically, these mice showed no significant difference in lung virus titer or weight loss. There was, however, a decrease in the level of GM-CSF, IL-6, and G-CSF cytokines in the lungs of Ekybion-treated, infected mice. It is possible that decreases in proinflammatory cytokines may have contributed to increased survivorship in Ekybion-treated influenza-infected mice.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2011; 2011(1741-427X):192079. DOI:10.1155/2011/192079 · 1.88 Impact Factor
"The species Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench is famous for its immune stimulatory effects  , for treating conditions suc h as dizziness, sore throat or teeth pain , candidiasis  etc. Moreover it is recognized for its antitumor , inflammatory  effects and because it improves resistance against viruses that cause influenza  and vesicular stomatitis virus . Before modern antibiotics, the species was successfully used as anti-infective agent . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Merging aesthetics with utility, some medicinal plants can benefit both of a high production and decoration potential. This calls for diversification of improvement directions of the species. Through this article we suggest one of these species, Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench. This is considered to be important at this time, acquisition of new biological forms - varieties in this species, which show multiple attributes utility based on key biological characteristics, agronomic, physiological, biochemical and agrochemical (medicinal, decorative, culinary etc.). To achieve this goal, studies were undertaken, given in this article, which is the starting point for selecting characters representative for our targets.The results presented in this study reveal a pronounced genetic polymorphism showing the selection operation can use the original material for a quantitative and qualitative differentiation of valuable genotypes that could be approved.
"E. purpurea contains large amounts of chicoric acid and caftaric acid, which are largely recognized in the inhibition of hyaluronidase which is secreted by streptococci and other bacteria to enable penetration into tissue, has been demonstrated with Echinacea plant juice . It also controls candidiasis infestation , enhances resistance to influenza viruses  and vesicular stomatitis virus  and enhances phagocytosis when administered orally to mice  and humans . This phagocytic enhancement is attributed to its isobutylamide content, which inhibits the pro-inflammatory metabolite production induced by lipoxygenase  and is responsible for the local anaesthetic effects applied to relieve oral pain, such as toothaches and sore throats . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Echinacea (E.) purpurea herb is commonly known as the purple coneflower, red sunflower and rudbeckia. In this paper, we report the curative efficacy of an Echinacea extract in gamma-irradiated mice. E. purpurea was given to male mice that were divided into five groups (control, treated, irradiated, treated before irradiation & treated after irradiation) at a dose of 30 mg/kg body weight for 2 weeks before and after irradiation with 3 Gy of gamma-rays. The results reflected the detrimental reduction effects of gamma-rays on peripheral blood hemoglobin and the levels of red blood cells, differential white blood cells, and bone marrow cells. The thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARs) level, Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSPx) activities and DNA fragmentation were also investigated. FT-Raman spectroscopy was used to explore the structural changes in liver tissues. Significant changes were observed in the microenvironment of the major constituents, including tyrosine and protein secondary structures. E. purpurea administration significantly ameliorated all estimated parameters. The radio-protection effectiveness was similar to the radio-recovery curativeness in comparison to the control group in most of the tested parameters. The radio-protection efficiency was greater than the radio-recovery in hemoglobin level during the first two weeks, in lymphoid cell count and TBARs level at the fourth week and in SOD activity during the first two weeks, as compared to the levels of these parameters in the control group.
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