VANCOUVER, Jul 28, 2005 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- A new study which
claims that Echinacea products work no better than a placebo on cold symptoms
has been called faulty and inaccurate by the Canadian-based Company that
produces a number of well known Echinacea-based products for consumers around
According to Dr. Michael Murray, the Director of Education for Factors Group of
Nutritional Companies, consumers should certainly not dismiss Echinacea as a
cold remedy based on the results of this study alone.
Dr. Murray says that the most recent study, as reported in the New England
Journal of Medicine this week, revealed that the study was incorrect on several
"What determines the effectiveness of any herbal product is its ability to
deliver an effective dosage of active compounds. The specific components of
Echinacea responsible for its immune-enhancing effects are the polysaccharides,
alkylamides and the cichoric acid," says Dr. Murray. "While each of these
components is effective alone, the greatest degree of effectiveness occurs when
the three active components are combined and at a specific ratio."
Dr. Murray says that the current study's researchers made a mistake by not
ensuring that the three active compounds which ensure the efficacy of any
Echinacea product were utilized in an optimum ratio in this specific study. He
says none of the three extracts used on the 399 study participants actually
contained all of the three necessary compounds.
Dr. Murray also calls into question the study's dosing of study participants.
"According to the study, the patients were given 1.5 mL three times a day which
represents 300 mg per dose or 900 mg per day. This is not an effective dose. The
standard dosage for dried Echinacea angustifolia root is normally three grams
per day or more and this study used less than one gram," says Dr. Murray.
Dr. Murray adds that even the National Health Products Directorate of Health
Canada, which is known to be very conservative in the area of dosing, recommends
a minimum dosage of three grams of Echinacea for therapeutic results.(1)
Roland Gahler, Executive Chairman of the Factors Group of Nutritional Companies
says, "The real problem is that not all Echinacea products are equal. As Dr.
Murray has so correctly pointed out, it has been clearly shown time and time
again that the single most important aspect in getting results from an Echinacea
product is to make sure that it can provide sufficient levels of all three
classes of the key categories of active compounds in their proper ratio."
"The benefits of such a preparation have been clinically verified in a number of
studies that the current study's researchers chose to ignore," says Mr. Gahler.
Factors Group developed its Echinacea-based products following years of
collaboration with researchers at the University of Alberta, University of
British Columbia and Dalhousie University in Canada, as well as Heinrich-Hein
University in Dusseldorf, Germany and Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria.
All products were subjected to rigorous clinical and laboratory testing.
Dr. Richard Barton, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the
University of British Columbia and co-director of the Company's human clinical
studies, says that there have been a lot of studies with Echinacea done before
but, as usual, none utilize the proper ratio of active compounds. He says that,
as a result, the research continues to be disappointing.
"In contrast, the research that we did on Echinilin(R) was triple- standardized
(alkylamide, polysaccharide, cichoric acid). And, the randomized,
double-blinded, placebo-controlled human studies showed it to be consistently
effective in fighting off cold and flu viruses. We saw a sustained increase in
natural killer cells (NK cells) in participants when they were given Echinilin
which no doubt contributed to a more active immune system resulting in the
destruction of virus-infected cells. The end result was a remarkably high
reduction in both severity of symptoms and duration of the infection," says Dr.
The Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics published an article on Dr.
Barton's study and described the findings as a breakthrough in the fight against
viral infections such as the common cold and the flu in February 2004.(2)
Factors Group of Nutritional Companies includes Factors R & D Technologies Ltd.,
which is Canada's leading research organization in evidence-based
phytopharmaceuticals. The Company's science team is comprised of international
experts -- some of whom hold positions at the universities in Alberta, British
Columbia, Dalhousie, Toronto and Graz (Austria). Factors R & D coordinates all
research and development of the 500-plus products for the Factors Group. This
includes its line of Med-Foods(TM), as wells as Echinilin(R) which has
demonstrated its effectiveness as an immune system stimulant against upper
respiratory illnesses in Phase II clinical trials. Research projects include the
agronomy of herbal and other medicinal plants, organic farming methods,
extraction processes, laboratory (in vitro) testing and studies, in vivo
mammalian studies and human clinical trials.
(2) V. Goel, et al., 'Efficacy of a standardized Echinacea preparation
(Echinilin(R)) for the treatment of the common cold: a randomized,
double-blind, placebo-controlled trial', published in the Journal of
Clinical and Pharmaceutical Therapeutics (2004), 29, 75-83
SOURCE: Natural Factors Nutritional Products Ltd.
CONTACT: or interview requests, please contact: Kate Jobling, Media & Public Relations,
Factors R & D Technologies Ltd., Direct: (604) 415-4181, Email:
Copyright (C) 2005 CNW Group. All rights reserved.
KEYWORD: British Columbia
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: SPM
SUBJECT CODE: SVY