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Abstract

Limitations on the use of Echinacea preparations have recently been proposed by some, based on misconceptions of the herb’s action on the immune system. These suggestions have included restrictions on the length of time that Echinacea should be given, as well as prohibitions on the use of Echinacea in autoimmune disorders. These recommendations, however, are based on a limited understanding of immune system function and misinterpretations of the Echinacea research, but above all they ignore the strong traditional basis for the use of Echinacea. It will be argued that the best way to overcome this conceptual dilemma is to view Echinacea as an immunomodulator, rather than as an immunostimulant. (Alt Med Rev 1997;2(6):451-458)

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