There has been quite a bit of research on echinacea.
“Several laboratory and animal studies suggest that echinacea contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects” (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/echinacea-000239.htm).
The links below site further research.
Here is one experimental study about the health affects of echinacea. 80 adult patients who exhibited early cold symptoms were tested using placebos versus echinacea. The patients given echinacea had shorter recovery time and a less intense impact from the ensuing cold, thus demonstrating the boost to the immune system provided by echinacea.
The cited article explains four major studies conducted in the US and the UK which concretely link increased echinacea intake to stronger immune system response.
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