Taking echinacea might slightly reduce your chances of catching a cold. It has not been shown to shorten the length of a cold.

There isn’t enough evidence to show whether echinacea is helpful for other health conditions.

Recent NCCIH-sponsored research suggests that the effect on immune cells may depend on the types and amounts of bacteria within the echinacea plants and that the composition of the soil in which the plants are grown can affect this bacterial community. However, these findings come from laboratory studies of isolated cells, not studies in people.

Side Effects Of Echinacea

For most adults, short-term oral (by mouth) use is probably safe; the safety of long-term use is uncertain.

Although some preliminary research has been done on the use of echinacea during pregnancy, the safety of using it during pregnancy or while breastfeeding remains uncertain.

The most common side effects are digestive tract symptoms, such as nausea or stomach pain.

Some people have allergic reactions to echinacea, which may be severe. Some children participating in a clinical trial developed rashes, which may have been caused by an allergic reaction.

Current evidence indicates that the risk of interactions between echinacea supplements and most medications is low. 


Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.