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Echinacea and Exercise

by Bryce Wylde

If scientists and medical researchers could just dispense exercise in pill form, they'd cure most of the heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and possibly cancer in the world. 

Some people have realised that their health is in their own hands and are heeding calls from medical professionals to get up off the couch.  Others have already made rigorous exercise a part of their daily routine and good for them- but it's important to remember that you can have too much of a good thing and you need to be alert to symptoms of overtraining.

Overtraining is actually a syndrome that comes with measurable symptoms. 

It occurs when after vigorous workouts, performance actually begins to deteriorate and the immune system begins to malfunction. One sign of a suppressed immune function experienced by many of these athletes and weekend warriors is an increased incidence of upper respiratory tract infection. 

Symptoms of these infections begin to appear anywhere from 3-72 hours after excessive exercise (like running a marathon) and can incapacitate you for days. 

The good news is that research suggests taking Echinacea may increase red blood cell production and oxygen intake in healthy men. These effects may be linked to improved athletic performance.

This combined with the known immune stimulating effects of Echinacea (not to mention the plethora of germs athletes are exposed to in a  gym setting) and it seems anyone who is exercising seriously should be taking Echinacea before and after workouts!

Bryce Wylde
Alternative Health Expert BSc, DHMHS, Hom.
Author of Wylde on Health

References:

  • Jawad M, Schoop R, Suter A, Klein P, Eccles R. Safety and efficacy profile of Echinacea purpurea to prevent common cold episodes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012

  • Lakier Smith L. Overtraining, excessive exercise, and altered immunity: is this a T helper-1 versus T helper-2 lymphocyte response? Sports Med. 2003;33(5):347-64.

  • Di Pierro, et al. Use of a Standardized Extract from Echinacea angustifolia (PolinaceaR) for the Prevention of Respiratory Tract Infections. Alternative Medicine Review. Mar2012, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p36-41

  • Hoheisel O, Sandberg M, Bertram S, et al. Echinagard treatment shortens the course of the common cold: A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Eur J Clin Res 1997;9:261-8

  • See DM, Broumand N, Sahl L, Tilles JG. 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. Immunopharmacology 1997;35:229-35.

  • Melchart D, Linde K, Worku F, et al. Immunomodulation with Echinacea-a systematic review of controlled clinical trials. Phytomedicine 1994;1:245-54.

  • Dorn M, Knick E, Lewith G. Placebo-controlled, double-blind study of Echinacea pallida redix in upper respiratory tract infections. Comp Ther Med 1997;5:40-2.

  • Hoheisel O, Sandberg M, Bertram S, et al. Echinacea shortens the course of the common cold: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Eur J Clin Res 1997;9:261-8

  • Schoop R, Klein P, Suter A, Johnston SL. Echinacea in the prevention of induced rhinovirus colds: a meta-analysis. Clin Ther. February, 2006;28(2):174-183.

  • Braunig B, Dorn M, Knick E. Echinacea purpurea root for strengthening the immune response to flu-like infections. Zeitschrift Phytotherapie 1992;13:7-13.

  • Brikenborn RM, Shah DV, Degenring FH. EchinaforceR and other Echinacea fresh plant preparations in the treatment of the common cold. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Phytomedicine 1999;6:1-5.



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