Echinacea: "liver damage".

Subject: Re: echinacea questions
From: Karen S Vaughan <>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 19:00:34 -0500

<<I read a newspaper article which said that using the tincture more than 3 times a day stresses the liver.>>

In fact Echinacea tincture should be taken almost continuously during the day, at least hourly. Paul Bergner recommends putting the days dose in a water bottle and drinking out of it all day long. The Eclectics apparently used fairly low doses of E. angustifolia root tincture at very frequent intervals, even for diseases like anthrax. However most serious herbalists I know use large rather than low doses taken continuously.

Incidentally echinacea tincture is _much_ more effective in tincture form. There are lymph nodes in the mouth and the echinacea can start working directly. Since lymph doesn't have a pump in the human body and sick people often don't move their circulation, depending upon digestion and transfer to lymph is unreliable. (Not to mention that herbs in capsule form deteriorate more quickly.) I will however sometimes take additional echinacea caps with my tincture if I want a large hit and don't want too much alcohol. And a recent study found that HerbPharm's super-echinacea extract which contains both water-soluble and alcohol-soluble constituents was the most effective. (nci- but I've used it for years.)

<<2) Also my local herbalist told me echinacea should be used daily on a preventative basis rather than during the illness. >>

Find another herbalist. Echinacea should be used for treatment, not prevention, for which it has at best mediocre value. (I *love* hearing people say "Echinacea did nothing for my flu. I've been taking it every day for two years. ;-( )

Karen Vaughan
Email advice is not a substitute for medical treatment.