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echinacea (cont.)

Who should not take echinacea ()?

Echinacea is not recommended for use by people with multiple sclerosis, white blood cell disorders, collagen disorders, HIV/AIDS, autoimmune disorders, or tuberculosis.

Before taking echinacea, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional if you have allergies (especially to plants), have any medical condition, or if you take other medicines or other herbal/health supplements. Echinacea may not be recommended in some situations.

Do not take echinacea without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant. It is not known whether echinacea will harm an unborn baby.

Do not take echinacea without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. It is also not known whether echinacea will harm a nursing infant.

There is no information available regarding the use of echinacea by children. Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without first talking to the child's doctor.

How should I take echinacea ()?

The use of echinacea in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

If you choose to take echinacea, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

When echinacea is being used for symptoms of the common cold, it should be started as soon as the symptoms are noticed. Also, three weeks of treatment with echinacea, followed by one week without the echinacea may provide the best results.

Standardized extracts, tinctures, and solid formulations of herbal/health supplements may provide a more reliable dose of the product.

Take the pill forms of echinacea with a full glass of water.

To ensure the correct dose, measure the liquid forms of echinacea with the dropper provided or with a dose-measuring spoon or cup.

Some forms of echinacea can be brewed to form a tea for drinking.

Use the topical forms of echinacea externally only.

Do not use different formulations (e.g., tablets, topical formulations, teas, tinctures, and others) of echinacea at the same time, unless specifically directed to do so by a health care professional. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose of echinacea.

Store echinacea as directed on the package. In general, echinacea should be protected from light.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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