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Home Wellness Research Vitamins and Herbs Research on Echinacea Use in Pregnancy

Research on Echinacea Use in Pregnancy

Monday, 24 November 2008 19:46
A controlled prospective study suggests that consumption of echinacea during pregnancy is not associated with an increased risk of birth defects. Between 1996 and 1998, 412 women participated in the Canadian study. Of these women, 206 had taken echinacea during pregnancy. The 206 women in the control group were matched to the echinacea group by age, alcohol and cigarette use, and disease (i.e., upper respiratory tract infections during pregnancy). Fifty-four percent reported taking the herb in the first trimester of pregnancy, and 8% used echinacea throughout their pregnancies. The dosages of echinacea capsules or tablets used by the women varied from 250 to 1,000 mg a day; tincture dosages varied from 5 to 30 drops a day. About 81% of the participants reported that echinacea improved their upper respiratory tract symptoms.

Results revealed no significant differences between the echinacea group and the control group in the rate of major or minor birth defects, nor were there any differences in pregnancy outcome, delivery method, maternal weight gain, gestational age, infant birth weight or fetal distress. In the echinacea group, 6 major and 6 minor malformations occurred; of these, 4 major and 2 minor malformations appeared in babies of women who took echinacea during the first trimester, the most important period in terms of initial fetal development. By comparison, the researchers observed 7 major and 7 minor malformations in control group infants. There were 13 spontaneous abortions in the echinacea group compared with 7 in the control group.

First Study on Safety of Echinacea During Pregnancy  Herb World News Online 2000