Echinacea, also known as coneflower, has long been recognized for its immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects. However, recent research has begun to explore its potential psychotropic effects, particularly in the realm of anxiety relief.
Traditionally valued for its support of the immune system and alleviation of respiratory symptoms, echinacea has been used by Native Americans for centuries to treat various conditions such as respiratory infections, colds, coughs, and bronchitis.
While the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of echinacea are well-established, a comprehensive echinacea research database has identified approximately 130 diseases that may benefit from this herbal remedy. Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that echinacea may have anxiety-relieving and mood-enhancing effects, with at least 54 known pharmacological actions.
In a significant breakthrough in 2010, researchers demonstrated for the first time that echinacea exhibited anxiety-relieving effects in an animal study. Subsequent studies in 2013 further confirmed the ability of echinacea extract to reduce anxiety in rats. Building upon these findings, the researchers conducted human trials administering daily doses of one or two tablets containing 20 milligrams (mg) of echinacea extract for one week.
Notably, the higher dose of two tablets demonstrated a decrease in anxiety levels after just three days, and this effect remained stable throughout the treatment period and the subsequent two weeks. Another double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 2020 tested the efficacy of 40 mg of echinacea daily for seven days among adults with anxiety. The results indicated that echinacea significantly reduced anxiety scores compared to the placebo, highlighting its potential beneficial effects on anxiety in humans.
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