Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: Dr Taylor and colleagues1 concluded that a nonstandardized dose of Echinacea purpurea did not decrease the severity or duration
of upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) in children 2 to 11 years old.
We have several concerns about the authors' methods. First, the dosage was
not determined, nor did the authors measure lipophilic phenol or hydrophilic
polysaccharide fractions. The lack of standardization calls into question
the relevance of the outcomes compared with other commercially available standardized
echinacea preparations.2 Furthermore, fractions
derived from whole echinacea (roots, seeds, leaves, and flowers) represent
a broader spectrum of potentially bioactive compounds and biological activity.3,4
Kim L, Wollner D, Anderson P, Brammer D. Echinacea for Treating Colds in Children. JAMA. 2004;291(11):1323-1324. doi:10.1001/jama.291.11.1323-a