Efficacy of Echinacea purpurea in patients with a common cold. A placebo-controlled, randomised, double-blind clinical trial

Arzneimittelforschung. 2001;51(7):563-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1300080.


Common colds are one of the most frequent acute illnesses with major economical impact. Echinaceae purpureae herba (Echinacin, EC31J0) has shown promising results in the relief of common cold symptoms and the time taken to improvement compared to placebo. This study was aimed to confirm these findings by performing a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. A total of 80 adult male or female patients with first signs of a cold were recruited. The number of days of illness with a complete picture of the common cold (defined by the modified Jackson score of at least 5 points and experience of rhinorrhea and/or a subjective sensation of having a cold) was the primary end-point. In the verum group the median time of illness was 6.0 days compared to 9.0 days in the placebo group, assigning zero time for patients without a complete picture (one-sided p = 0.0112). EC31J0 was well tolerated and clinically effective in alleviating symptoms more rapidly than placebo in patients with a common cold.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase IV
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Common Cold / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Echinacea / chemistry
  • Echinacea / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Sample Size