This is not the best news heading in cold and flu season. Echinacea, the popular herbal remedy, does not really help anyone get better any sooner. The study of more than 700 adults and children showed that only a few hours was shaved off of a week-long cold and slightly milder symptoms—which could have happened by chance. Echinacea is one of the top cold and flu products in terms of sales, although it has its critics. University of Wisconsin’s Dr. Bruce Barrett used participants between the ages of 12 and 80 and gave them either the herb, a dummy pill, or nothing at all and compared results. The ones who took echinacea had shorter and slightly less severe colds, but the researchers said echinacea’s benefits did not justify its cost and the trouble of taking it.
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