People using the herbal remedy echinacea to treat allergies may be prone to adverse reactions, according to new research published in the January issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The study by immunology and allergy specialist Dr. Raymond J. Mullins in Canberra, Australia focused on and five patients suffering from symptoms ranging from dizziness to asthma between five minutes and two days after exposure to echinacea.
In addition, Mullins and his colleague also looked at reports of 50 adverse reactions involving echinacea, with symptoms including hives, swelling and shock.
A skin prick allergy test was also carried out on 100 people known to be allergic to other substances, revealing that 20% were also allergic to echinacea.
One curiosity of the test was the fact that only three of the individuals with an allergic reaction had ever consumed a product containing Echinacea. An individual usually has to be exposed to a substance to become allergic to it. The likelihood in this case is that the allergic reaction was to another component of echinacea which they had already come into contact with.