Echinacea or not Echinacea 
Author Message
 Echinacea or not Echinacea

I have received some advice to add Echinacea to my regime of a gazillion
vitamins, etc. I think I also heard once upon a time that Echinacea could
pose a problem for the liver of those with HCV. I am on INF/Riba and have
just tested negative PCR & normal enzymes. I would like to take advantage
of Echinacea's anti-viral properties, but I am not 100% secure with taking
it.

Would appreciate any advice and input on this.

KenL



Sun, 20 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT
 Echinacea or not Echinacea

Quote:

>I have received some advice to add Echinacea to my regime of a gazillion
>vitamins, etc. I think I also heard once upon a time that Echinacea could
>pose a problem for the liver of those with HCV. I am on INF/Riba and have
>just tested negative PCR & normal enzymes. I would like to take advantage
>of Echinacea's anti-viral properties, but I am not 100% secure with taking
>it.

Echinacea first of all should not be used for more than a couple of
weeks. It begins to have a rebound effect if taken for longer periods.
There are several species with slightly different properties,
including E. augustofolia and E. purpurea.

Test tube studies (which must always be viewed with a jaundiced
eye--no pun intended!!) suggest Ech may increase another cytokine
called tumor necrosis factor. I'm not sure if this plays a role in the
pathogenesis (development of disease) in hepatitis, but it may have
the unfortunate side effect of increasing viral replication. This is
extremely speculative but I think it's better to err on the side of
caution.

With a similar caveat to use it only for a few weeks at a time,
goldenseal may be a better bet.

Finally, it is just not clear to me that Echinacea has a place in
hepatitis treatment. Unfortunately, this is yet one more question that
will probably remain in clinical limbo.

                George M. Carter



Mon, 21 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT
 Echinacea or not Echinacea

George makes some good points as to why one should be cautious in
using echinacea.  The one area where I feel it has a useful role to
play for hep C people is in protecting us from colds, flu, and other
acute viral infections that temporarily tax our immune systems and
pave the way for a flare-up of hepatitis.  The last major hcv flare-up
I had was one year ago when I caught a cold or flu, which then
went into a bacterial sinus infection, which left me susceptible to
catching a 2nd cold or flu virus.  After 8 weeks of that {*filter*}(which
finally abated after a course of anitbiotics reduced the sinus infection),
my immune system had been so tied up dealing with those things that I
guess it left the hcv unguarded for too long, and I spent the next 2-3 months
being very slowed down in the typical hcv fashion and had elevated LFTs.
Now I take echinacea at the first hint of a sore throat or stuffy head
or fluish feeling, and it really works!  Surprised me, anyway.  It's
important to stay healthy in every regard when one's immune system is
battling a chronic viral infection, and echinacea - used sparingly and
at just the right time - seems to help that process.

Kim


Quote:

>>I have received some advice to add Echinacea to my regime of a gazillion
>>vitamins, etc. I think I also heard once upon a time that Echinacea could
>>pose a problem for the liver of those with HCV. I am on INF/Riba and have
>>just tested negative PCR & normal enzymes. I would like to take advantage
>>of Echinacea's anti-viral properties, but I am not 100% secure with taking
>>it.

> Echinacea first of all should not be used for more than a couple of
> weeks. It begins to have a rebound effect if taken for longer periods.
> There are several species with slightly different properties,
> including E. augustofolia and E. purpurea.

> Test tube studies (which must always be viewed with a jaundiced
> eye--no pun intended!!) suggest Ech may increase another cytokine
> called tumor necrosis factor. I'm not sure if this plays a role in the
> pathogenesis (development of disease) in hepatitis, but it may have
> the unfortunate side effect of increasing viral replication. This is
> extremely speculative but I think it's better to err on the side of
> caution.

> With a similar caveat to use it only for a few weeks at a time,
> goldenseal may be a better bet.

> Finally, it is just not clear to me that Echinacea has a place in
> hepatitis treatment. Unfortunately, this is yet one more question that
> will probably remain in clinical limbo.

>            George M. Carter



Tue, 22 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT
 Echinacea or not Echinacea

On this topic. awhile back i read about a book on liver nutritiopn or
keeping liver healthy. it was called liver nutrition or feeding the
liver or something like that. any ideas what is called and publisher,
etc.  (i read aboutg it on this nesgroup)

Thanks.

waren
: I have received some advice to add Echinacea to my regime of a gazillion
: vitamins, etc. I think I also heard once upon a time that Echinacea could
: pose a problem for the liver of those with HCV. I am on INF/Riba and have
: just tested negative PCR & normal enzymes. I would like to take advantage
: of Echinacea's anti-viral properties, but I am not 100% secure with taking
: it.

: Would appreciate any advice and input on this.

: KenL



Tue, 22 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT
 Echinacea or not Echinacea

Ken, I just read on "our other list" from several people that echinacea
should be on our "no-no list".  A long time ago someone told me to take it
at the onset of a cold, but I think I'd feel safer staying away from it.
Pat



Wed, 30 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT
 Echinacea or not Echinacea

Pat, I toyed with it but finally came to no firm conclusion. These colds
knock me out at times and it seems that they add another negative
ingredient to a battle that I am waging with the HCV. However, I also have
seen some negative stuff about Echinacea as well as much positive. I have
been all over the lot on this one. I know that if I did ever take it it
would be very short term. However, my taking it still is on hold for now.

Thank for input.
KenL

Quote:
> Ken, I just read on "our other list" from several people that echinacea
> should be on our "no-no list".  A long time ago someone told me to take
it
> at the onset of a cold, but I think I'd feel safer staying away from it.
> Pat



Wed, 30 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT
 Echinacea or not Echinacea

Quote:

>Pat, I toyed with it but finally came to no firm conclusion. These colds
>knock me out at times and it seems that they add another negative
>ingredient to a battle that I am waging with the HCV. However, I also have
>seen some negative stuff about Echinacea as well as much positive. I have
>been all over the lot on this one. I know that if I did ever take it it
>would be very short term. However, my taking it still is on hold for now.

Doing catch up here. Part of the negative press stems from animal
studies that showed it increased a cytokine called tumor necrosis
factor alpha. There is neither confirmation nor refutation that this
is the case in humans--but it is quite possible that this effect will
happen in humans.

TNF in low levels is necessary. In HIV, elevated levels are associated
with concurrent infection or increased progression. By and large,
methods are being sought to  lower it (e.g., thalidomide, carnitine,
ketotifen).

Given the chronic, inflammatory nature of HCV and HBV, it would be my
guess that elevated TNF is not a good idea; it may well increase viral
reproduction, increase oxidative stress and tissue damage.

All that having been said, the risk/benefit of echinacea is not clear.
Is there enough benefit from a 1-2 week use during a cold that
outweighs the hypothetical risk of increased TNF? This is a good
question for a clinical study. Which will probably never happen
(unless people start screaming that we NEED these data).

One study showed that 6 grams of carnitine taken over a two week
period *normalized* TNF in people with HIV. That is, it went down only
in those with pathophysiologically high levels. That's a lot of
carnitine and the stuff is expensive. But it helps to shuttle long
chain fatty acids into mitochondria to make fuel (ATP) which is
important for sustaining health. So if you can afford (or can get a
prescription for) carnitine or acetylcarnitine (the latter not
prescribable but possibly more effective), this might offset any
hypothetical increase in TNF induced by echinacea. In fact, carnitine
may be a good idea as part of a holistic protocol to help heal tissues
and improve the body's ability to keep the hepatitis virus at bay.

(Oh,  yeah--the carnitine is also good for lowering elevated
triglycerides. These are the fatty acids used as fuel to create more
ATP.)

                George M. Carter



Wed, 07 Jul 1999 03:00:00 GMT
 
 [ 7 post ] 

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