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March 17, 2004

Echinacea for Treating Colds in Children

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(11):1323-1324. doi:10.1001/jama.291.11.1323-b

To the Editor: Dr Taylor and colleagues1 did not provide any information about the chemical content of the echinacea they administered. The main pharmacological substances with immunostimulant activity in experimental2,3 and clinical studies4 are purified polysaccharides that can be extracted only in small quantity from pressed E purpurea. Their extraction generally requires a solvent and not simple pressing of the fresh plant because they are a primary structural constituent of the plant and are more concentrated in the roots.5 Echinacea fresh-pressed juice preparations have been reported to be inactive as immunostimulants, although they may display anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.3

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