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Question:

From Windsor, Ontario, Canada:

I am currently giving my 17 and 5 year old children "Echinacea" as an immune system booster. I have them on a maintenance plan (2 weeks on, 2 weeks off). Their 40 year old father is a diabetic and has been since age 15. I have heard that the cause of diabetes may due to the immune system attaching itself. Is is a good idea to be giving my children "Echinacea" then? Should I stop as a precaution?

Answer:

Echinacea has a well documented property of enhancing the inflammatory response to infection. It is not antibiotic. I could however find no published evidence in the medical literature that it had been of value in preventing or treating any of the usual forms of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is certainly due to a disordered immune response; but in this situation there is at least some evidence that nonspecific stimulation of the immune system may be harmful although the experience with BCG in children in trying to prolong the honeymoon period did not demonstrate this. Nor did it have any beneficial effect.

In the circumstances and without proven evidence of benefit I would discontinue Echinacea.

DO'B

Original posting 8 Mar 1998
Posted to Alternative Therapies and Explanations

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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