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What are the side effects of consuming Echinacea?

What are the side effects of consuming Echinacea?

Echinacea interaction with Drugs

Interaction of a substance generally refers to a potential risk that could develop inside the human body when two or more drugs, products, or medical conditions, interact with one another in a negative manner that could result in certain unwanted health conditions. 

Natural products such as Echinacea are generally considered safe when taken in food amounts but might be harmful when consumed as a medicine amount like supplements. If an individual is medicating with certain medical drugs to treat any condition, there might be a possibility of interaction between those drugs and Echinacea This could cause complications in the condition that is to be treated or could result in new unwanted conditions. Such interacting medical drugs include:

  • Caffeine– Consuming Echinacea might decrease the absorption rate of caffeine when taken together by slowing down its breakdown in the body. This increases the risk of side effects related to caffeine such as headache, jitteriness, etc.
  • Medicine changed by liver(Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4))– Some medicines require the liver for their breakdown and change inside the body. Echinacea might reduce the breakdown action of such medicines which might result in several unwanted side effects.
  • Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2)– Some medicines require the liver for their breakdown and change inside the body. Echinacea might reduce the breakdown action of such medicines which might result in several unwanted side effects.
  • Immunosuppressants– Echinacea has a potency to increase the activity of the immune system. Consuming Echinacea with immunosuppressants might decrease the suppressing feature of such medicines. 
  • Etoposide– Consuming Echinacea along with etoposide might decrease the breakdown of this medicine inside the body. This could result in increased risk of etoposide’s side effects.

There are also some minor interactions of Red Cloves along with several other drugs such as Darunavir, Warfarin, Midazolam, Docetaxel, Lopinavir, Etravirine, etc.

Precautions and warnings before using Echinacea

Although being a natural herb that is used for a number of medical applications, there are certain medical conditions in a human body in which intake of Echinacea must be limited or avoided in order to prevent complications. Interference of this herb could result in worsening of certain medical conditions or might cause other unwanted conditions. Such medical conditions includes:

  • Pregnancy– Echinacea is commonly considered safe during pregnancy when consumed in a food amount. However, a pregnant woman must avoid consuming Echinacea in larger amounts or for more than 7 days due to harmful risks.
  • Breastfeeding– There is not enough evidence regarding safety of mother or nursing child while breastfeeding and consuming Echinacea. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid using this herb during breastfeeding
  • Hormone sensitive– Echinacea  is expected to increase the activity of the immune system. If an individual is dealing with any medical condition that is affected by change in immune system, do not consume echinacea.
  • Atopy– People dealing with allergic reactions to echinacea might get diagnosed with allergic reactions. It is recommended to avoid echinacea in such conditions.

Side effects of using Echinacea

Interaction of Echinacea with several medical drugs and no precautionary actions against several medical conditions might cause certain unusual or allergic side effects and condition in a human body that includes:

  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling

There could be more side effects not mentioned in the above list. An individual must make sure to consume Echinacea with proper precaution and avoid interaction in order to prevent side effects. However if side effects are observed, it is advisable to contact a doctor or get immediate medical attention as soon as possible if necessary.


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