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Echinacea side effects


One of the most extensive and systematic studies to review the safety of Echinacea products concluded that overall, “side effects are rare, mild and reversible,” with the most common symptoms being “gastrointestinal and skin-related.” Such side effects include nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, itch, and rash. Echinacea has also been linked to rare allergic reactions, including asthma, shortness of breath, and one case of anaphylaxis. Muscle and joint pain has been associated with Echinacea, but it may have been caused by cold or flu symptoms for which the Echinacea products were administered.

When taken by mouth, Echinacea usually does not cause side effects. However, some people experience allergic reactions, including rashes, increased asthma, and anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction). In clinical trials, gastrointestinal side effects were most common.

People with tuberculosis, leukemia, diabetes, connective tissue disorders, multiple sclerosis, HIV or AIDS, any autoimmune diseases, or, possibly, liver disorders should not take Echinacea.

There is some concern that Echinacea may reduce the effectiveness of medications that suppress the immune system. For this reason, people receiving organ transplants who must take immunosuppressant medications should avoid Echinacea. Because Echinacea can enhance immune function, people should not use the herb with immunosuppressive medications, especially when taken for organ transplant.

People with asthma and allergies may be at an increased risk for developing these side effects. People with allergies to plants in the daisy family should not take Echinacea unless they do so under the supervision of a health care provider.

There has been one report of an individual developing erythema nodosum (a painful skin condition) after taking Echinacea to treat the flu.

 More information about Echinacea

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