back   Scientific Studies on Echinacea

Contents:


Introduction

Echinacea was widely used by the Plains Indians of North America. American settlers also adopted its use and the herb has been valued by natural health advocates since. Herbalists have used Echinacea for years to support the immune system, especially during season changes and during the cold and flu season. Herbalists consider Echinacea to be one of the most useful herbs because it does more than nourish the immune system. It is also known as the "King of the Blood Purifiers." Echinacea has no dangerous side-effects, but for maximum effectiveness take it only when immune system support is needed, such as during the cold and flu season, or when the immune system is in a weakened condition.

Echinacea has been one of the most scientifically studied herbs. It has been found to contain natural chemicals, echinacosides, that are beneficial to the immune system by increasing white blood cell activity against tumor cells, candida albicans, and pathological micro-organisms. Echinacosides are also very powerful free radical scavengers.

Click here for full photo of Echinacea purpurea There are three species of Echinacea that are valued by herbalists today; Echinacea purpurea (picture), E. augustifolia and E. pallida. Echinacea purpurea is the botanical name for purple coneflowers, an herb native to the central and southwestern U.S. and widely-planted today as an ornamental flower. It grows in open fields and rocky soils and bears purple flowers that resemble black-eyed susans. Extracts of Echinacea purpurea were found to enhance the cellular immune function of normal individuals and patients with depressed cellular immunity (AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome.) 1

All three species of Echinacea were used by the Plains Indians and have been scientifically studied for their effects on the immune system. Many herbalists believe that the most beneficial Echinacea supplements contain a combination of at least two, and perhaps all three species. (See Ultimate Echinacea.)


Abstracts:



1. Title: In vitro effects of echinacea and ginseng on natural killer and antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity in healthy subjects and chronic fatigue syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients.

Author
See DM; Broumand N; Sahl L; Tilles JG
Address
Department of Medicine, U.C. Irvine Medical Center, Orange 92668, USA.
Source
Immunopharmacology, 35(3):229-35 1997 Jan
Abstract
Extracts of Echinacea purpurea and Panax ginseng were evaluated for their capacity to stimulate cellular immune function by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from normal individuals and patients with either the chronic fatigue syndrome or the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. PBMC isolated on a Ficoll-hypaque density gradient were tested in the presence or absence of varying concentrations of each extract for natural killer (NK) cell activity versus K562 cells and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against human herpesvirus 6 infected H9 cells. Both echinacea and ginseng, at concentrations > or = 0.1 or 10 micrograms/kg, respectively, significantly enhanced NK-function of all groups. Similarly, the addition of either herb significantly increased ADCC of PBMC from all subject groups. Thus, extracts of Echinacea purpurea and Panax ginseng enhance cellular immune function of PBMC both from normal individuals and patients with depressed cellular immunity.
Language
Eng
Unique Identifier
97196847

MESH Headings
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (BL/DT/*IM); Adult; Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity (*DE/IM); Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic (BL/DT/*IM); Female; Ginseng (*CH); Human; Killer Cells, Natural (*DE/IM); Kinetics; Male; Plant Extracts (AE/*PD); Plants, Medicinal (*CH); Reference Values

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
0162-3109
Country of Publication
NETHERLANDS


2. Title: Echinacoside and caffeoyl conjugates protect collagen from free radical-induced degradation: a potential use of Echinacea extracts in the prevention of skin photodamage.

Author
Facino RM; Carini M; Aldini G; Saibene L; Pietta P; Mauri P
Address
Istituto Chimico Farmaceutico Tossicologico, Milan, Italy.
Source
Planta Med, 61(6):510-4 1995 Dec
Abstract
The protective effect of caffeoyl derivatives (echinacoside, chlorogenic acid, chicoric acid, cynarine, and caffeic acid, typical constituents of Echinacea species) on the free radical-induced degradation of Type III collagen has been investigated. The macromolecule was exposed to a flux of oxygen radicals (superoxide anion and hydroxyl radical) generated by the xanthine/xanthine oxidase/Fe2+/EDTA system and its degradation assessed qualitatively by SDS-PAGE and quantitatively as the amount of soluble peptides (according to the 4-hydroxyproline method) released from native collagen after oxidative stress. The SDS-PAGE pattern of native collagen is markedly modified by free radical attack, with formation of a great number of peptide fragments with molecular masses below 97 kDa: in the presence of microM concentrations of echinacoside, there is a complete recovery of the native profile. Collagen degradation was, in fact, dose-dependently inhibited by all the compounds, with the following order of potency: echinacoside approximately chicoric acid > cynarine approximately caffeic acid > chlorogenic acid, with IC50 ranging from 15 to 90 microM. These results indicate that this representative class of polyphenols of Echinacea species protects collagen from free radical damage through a scavenging effect on reactive oxygen species and/or C-, N-, S-centered secondary radicals, and provide an indication for the topical use of extracts from Echinacea species for the prevention/treatment of photodamage of the skin by UVA/UVB radiation, in which oxidative stress plays a crucial role.
Language
Eng
Unique Identifier
96422326

MESH Headings
Caffeic Acids (*PD); Collagen (*ME); Free Radical Scavengers (*PD); Glycosides (*PD); Hydrolysis; Reactive Oxygen Species; Skin (*DE/*RE); Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Ultraviolet Rays; Xanthine Oxidase (ME); Xanthines (ME)

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
0032-0943
Country of Publication
GERMANY


3. Title: The effects of plant preparations on cellular functions in body defense

Author
Wildfeuer A; Mayerhofer D
Address
Fakultat fur Theoretische Medizin, Universitat Ulm, Fed. Rep. of Germany.
Source
Arzneimittelforschung, 44(3):361-6 1994 Mar
Abstract
Two preparations of Echinacea purpurea and a preparation of Eleutherococcus senticosus increased the in vitro phagocytosis of Candida albicans by granulocytes and monocytes from healthy donors by 30-45%. The chemotactic migration of granulocytes in the Boyden Chamber was increased by 45% with an Echinacea purpurea extract. The two herbal preparations had no effect in either direction on intracellular killing of bacteria or yeasts. Echinacea and Eleutherococcus preparations did not induce in vitro transformation of lymphocytes. The mistel toe preparation examined (Viscum album) did not influence the tested functions of granulocytes, monocytes or lymphocytes of healthy donors.
Language
Ger
Unique Identifier
94250295

MESH Headings
Adult*; Bacteria*; Chemotaxis, Leukocyte*; English Abstract; Female; Fungi*; Granulocytes*; Human; Immunity, Cellular*; In Vitro; Leukocytes*; Lymphocyte Transformation*; Male; Middle Age*; Monocytes*; Phagocytosis*; Plant Extracts*; Plants, Medicinal*; Viscum*

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
0004-4172
Country of Publication
GERMANY


4. Title: Macrophage activation by the polysaccharide arabinogalactan isolated from plant cell cultures of Echinacea purpurea.

Author
Luettig B; Steinmüller C; Gifford GE; Wagner H; Lohmann-Matthes ML
Address
Fraunhofer Institute für Toxikologie, Abt. Immunbiologie, Hannover, Federal Republic of Germany.
Source
J Natl Cancer Inst, 81(9):669-75 1989 May 3
Abstract
In this study, acidic arabinogalactan, a highly purified polysaccharide from plant cell cultures of Echinacea purpurea, with a molecular weight of 75,000, was effective in activating macrophages to cytotoxicity against tumor cells and micro-organisms (Leishmania enriettii). Furthermore, this polysaccharide induced macrophages to produce tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1 (IL-1), and interferon-beta 2. Arabinogalactan did not activate B cells and did not induce T cells to produce interleukin-2, interferon-beta 2, or interferon-gamma, but it did induce a slight increase in T-cell proliferation. When injected ip, this agent stimulated macrophages, a finding that may have therapeutic implications in the defense against tumors and infectious diseases.
Language
Eng
Unique Identifier
89216905

MESH Headings
Animal; Cells, Cultured; Female; Galactans (*PD); Interferon Type I (BI); Interleukin-1 (SE); Interleukin-2 (BI); Lymphocyte Transformation (DE); Macrophage Activation (*DE); Macrophages (IM/ME); Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred Strains; Phagocytosis (DE); Plants (*AN); Tumor Necrosis Factor (BI)

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
0027-8874
Country of Publication
UNITED STATES


5. Title: Polysaccharides isolated from plant cell cultures of Echinacea purpurea enhance the resistance of immunosuppressed mice against systemic infections with Candida albicans and Listeria monocytogenes.

Author
Steinmüller C; Roesler J; Gröttrup E; Franke G; Wagner H; Lohmann-Matthes ML
Address
Fraunhofer Institute, Department of Immunobiology, Hannover, F.R.G.
Source
Int J Immunopharmacol, 15(5):605-14 1993 Jul
Abstract
Polysaccharides (EP) isolated from large scale plant cell cultures of Echinacea purpurea, have been shown to activate human and murine phagocytes. In this study we investigated the influence of EP on the nonspecific immunity in immunodeficient mice. EP was effective in activating peritoneal macrophages isolated from animals after administration of cyclophosphamide (CP) or cyclosporin A (CsA). EP-treated macrophages exhibited increased production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) and enhanced cytotoxicity against tumor target WEHI 164 as well as against the intracellular parasite Leishmania enrietti. After a CP-mediated reduction of leukocytes in the peripheral blood, the polysaccharides induced an earlier influx of neutrophil granulocytes as compared to PBS-treated controls. EP treatment of mice, immunosuppressed with CP or CsA, restored their resistance against lethal infections with the predominantly macrophage-dependent pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and predominantly granulocyte-dependent Candida albicans. Further, the effects of EP in allogeneic bone marrow chimeric mice are discussed. These findings may have therapeutical implications in prophylactic treatment of opportunistic infections.
Language
Eng
Unique Identifier
93388043

MESH Headings
Animal; Bone Marrow Transplantation (IM); Candidiasis (IM/*PC); Cyclophosphamide (PD); Cyclosporine (PD); Cytotoxicity, Immunologic (DE); Female; Immunosuppression; In Vitro; Leishmania mexicana (IM); Leukocytes (DE); Listeria Infections (IM/*PC); Macrophage Activation (DE); Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred Strains; Plants (CH); Polysaccharides (IP/*PD); Tumor Necrosis Factor (BI)

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
0192-0561
Country of Publication
ENGLAND


6. Title: Macrophage activation and induction of macrophage cytotoxicity by purified polysaccharide fractions from the plant Echinacea purpurea.

Author
Stimpel M; Proksch A; Wagner H; Lohmann-Matthes ML
Source
Infect Immun, 46(3):845-9 1984 Dec
Abstract
Purified polysaccharides (EPS) prepared from the plant Echinacea purpurea are shown to strongly activate macrophages. Macrophages activated with these substances develop pronounced extracellular cytotoxicity against tumor targets. The activation is brought about by EPS alone and is independent of any cooperative effect with lymphocytes. Also the production and secretion of oxygen radicals and interleukin 1 by macrophages is increased after activation with EPS. Cells of the macrophages lineage seem to be the main target for the action of these polysaccharides. EPS has no effect on T lymphocytes. B lymphocytes show a comparatively modest proliferation after incubation with E. purpurea EPS. Thus, these compounds, which are at least in tissue culture completely nontoxic, may be suited to activate in vivo cells of the macrophage system to cytotoxicity. They may therefore be of relevance in tumor and infectious systems.
Language
Eng
Unique Identifier
85053511

MESH Headings
Adjuvants, Immunologic; Animal; B-Lymphocytes (IM); Interleukin-1 (BI); Lymphocyte Transformation; Lymphokines (BI); Macrophage Activation (*); Macrophages (*IM); Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Mice, Nude; Plants (*IM); Polysaccharides (*IM); T-Lymphocytes (IM)

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
0019-9567
Country of Publication
UNITED STATES


7. Title: Protection of phenylpropanoid glycosides from Pedicularis against oxidative hemolysis in vitro.

Author
Li J; Wang PF; Zheng R; Liu ZM; Jia Z
Address
Department of Biology, Lanzhou University, People's Republic of China.
Source
Planta Med, 59(4):315-7 1993 Aug
Abstract
Five phenylpropanoid glycosides from Pedicularis, isoacteoside (1), acteoside (2), echinacoside (3), pedicularioside A (4), cistanoside D (5), and a chemically synthesised compound, permethylacteoside (6), as phenolic compounds can protect against oxidative hemolysis. The inhibitory activity is related to the number of phenolic hydroxy groups. Compounds 1, 2, 3, and 4, possessing four phenolic hydroxy groups, have stronger inhibitory activities than 5 possessing only two phenolic hydroxy groups, and compound 6 with no phenolic hydroxy group inhibited oxidative hemolysis weakly.
Language
Eng
Unique Identifier
93383003

MESH Headings
Animal; Erythrocytes (DE); Glycosides (CH/*PD); Hemolysis (*DE); Mice; Oxidation-Reduction (DE); Plants, Medicinal (*CH); Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
0032-0943
Country of Publication
GERMANY


8. Title: Inhibition of the autoxidation of linoleic acid by phenylpropanoid glycosides from Pedicularis in micelles.

Author
Zheng RL; Wang PF; Li J; Liu ZM; Jia ZJ
Address
Department of Biology, Lanzhou University, Gansu, People's Republic of China.
Source
Chem Phys Lipids, 65(2):151-4 1993 Jun
Abstract
The activities of six phenylpropanoid glycosides as chain-breaking antioxidants have been studied for the autoxidation of linoleic acid in cetyl trimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) micelles at 37 degrees C. Verbascoside, isoverbascoside, echinacoside and pedicularioside A, which possess four phenolic hydroxyl groups, exhibited antioxidant activities, while cistanoside D possessing only two phenolic hydroxyl groups and permethyl verbascoside without phenolic hydroxyl group did not suppress the oxidation appreciably. The ratio of rate constants for inhibition and propagation kinh/kp and stoichiometric factor n were determined.
Language
Eng
Unique Identifier
93365059

MESH Headings
Amidines (PD); Cetrimonium Compounds; Glucosides (PD); Glycosides (*PD); Kinetics; Linoleic Acids (CH/*ME); Lipid Peroxidation (DE); Micelles (*); Oxidation-Reduction (DE); Oxygen Consumption (DE); Plant Extracts (*PD); Plants, Medicinal (*); Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
0009-3084
Country of Publication
NETHERLANDS


9. Title: Reaction of hydroxyl radical with phenylpropanoid glycosides from Pedicularis species: a pulse radiolysis study.

Author
Wang P; Zheng R; Gao J; Jia Z; Wang W; Yao S; Zhang J; Lin N
Address
Department of Biology, State Key Laboratory of Applied Organic Chemistry, Lanzhou University, China.
Source
Sci China C Life Sci, 39(2):154-8 1996 Apr
Abstract
Using pulse radiolysis technique, the reaction between hydroxyl radical and 7 phenylpropanoid glycosides: echinacoside, verbascoside, leucosceptoside A, martynoside, pediculariosides A, M and N which were isolated from Pedicularis were examined. The rate constants of these reactions were determined by transient absorption spectra. All 7 phenylpropanoid glycosides react with hydroxyl radical at high rate constants within (0.97-1.91) x 10(10)L.mol-1.s-1, suggesting that they are effective hydroxyl radical scavengers. The results demonstrate that the numbers of phenolic hydroxyl groups of phenylpropanoid glycosides are directly related to their scavenging activities. The scavenging activities are likely related to o-dihydroxy group of phenylpropanoid glycosides as well.
Language
Eng
Unique Identifier
96343973

MESH Headings
Drugs, Chinese Herbal (*/CH); Free Radical Scavengers (*); Glycosides (*/IP); Hydroxyl Radical (*); Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
1006-9305
Country of Publication
CHINA


10. Title: Antioxidative effects of phenylethanoids from Cistanche deserticola.

Author
Xiong Q; Kadota S; Tani T; Namba T
Address
Research Institute for Wakan-Yaku (Traditional Sino-Japanese Medicines), Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan.
Source
Biol Pharm Bull, 19(12):1580-5 1996 Dec
Abstract
The acetone-H2O (9:1) extract from the stem of Cistanche deserticola showed a strong free radical scavenging activity. Nine major phenylethanoid compounds were isolated from this extract. They were identified by NMR as acteoside, isoacteoside, 2'-acetylacteoside, tubuloside B, echinacoside, tubuloside A, syringalide A 3'-alpha-rhamnopyranoside, cistanoside A and cistanoside F. All of these compounds showed stronger free radical scavenging activities than alpha-tocopherol on 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical and xanthine/xanthine oxidase (XOD) generated superoxide anion radical (O2-.). Among the nine compounds, isoacteoside and tubuloside B, whose caffeoyl moiety is at 6'-position of the glucose, showed an inhibitory effect on XOD. We further studied the effects of these phenylethanoids on the lipid peroxidation in rat liver microsomes induced by enzymatic and non-enzymatic methods. As expected, each of them exhibited significant inhibition on both ascorbic acid/Fe2+ and ADP/NADPH/Fe3+ induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver microsomes, which were more potent than alpha-tocopherol of caffeic acid. The antioxidative effect was found to be potentiated by an increase in the number of phenolic hydroxyl groups in the molecule.
Language
Eng
Unique Identifier
97149849

MESH Headings
Animal; Antioxidants (CH/IP/*PD); Free Radical Scavengers; In Vitro; Lipid Peroxidation (DE); Male; Microsomes, Liver (DE/EN); Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; Phenylethyl Alcohol (CH/IP/*PD); Plants, Medicinal (*CH); Rats; Rats, Wistar; Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet; Superoxides (CH); Xanthine Oxidase (AI/ME)

Publication Type
JOURNAL ARTICLE
ISSN
0918-6158
Country of Publication
JAPAN
back

Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.