Rudbeckia vs Echinacea

Page 2 of 2  


Yours is the "magic walnut" type of reasoning. The "magic walnut" form of logic runs along this path:
My grampa ate a walnut a day for 80 years, then died of cancer, but never went blind or insane. Therefore walnuts cause cancer, but prevent blindness & insanity.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@visi.com (BRAINIAC) wrote:

If personal anecdote were evidence then "I didn't need surgery after I took echinacea" would be proof of a lot. Fortunately for public health, personal anecdote is never proof -- we would have no health advances at all if anecdote were mistaken for evidence of anything, & we would all still believe tomatos are deadly poison.
Your experience would at most provide the case for a hypothesis that must be tested by something a little less more substantial than personal anecdote, with doubleblind controlled studies that understand issues of statistical significance, statistical anomaly, placebo effect, or coincidence. If of a hundred people on Echinacea, & a hundred people given a cat's-eye-marble, 2% in each group recovered from hangnails & bursitis, this would NOT be proof that 2% of the population can be benifited by eating cat's-eye marbles or echinace.
Alas for your belief system, your particular hypothesis has already been made, & though tested again & again from the 1930s to 2004, no evidence has ever been found that echinacea has any health benefits at all. And since echinacea is not even recommended for ANY condition that would require surgery, you might as well have been eating cat's-eye marbles or raw pork squeezings.

You are repeating vendor disinformation. (And by the way, the pharmaceutical industry in Germany dissimates herbs, so if you don't trust Pfizer, you sure as hell shouldn't trust the German system which has taken these matters out of the hands of vendors & pretend-physicians).
The reality is Germany restricts the use of Echinacea much more greatly than any other European country, or America. Commission E has advised the government to instruct doctors to inform patients who demand echinacea that it INTERFERS with the immune system & may increase illnesses if used for longer than 8 weeks. And yes, it is doctors rather than check-out-tellers & herb-quacks who give out the herbs & the information, so it is primarilyh outside of Germany that echinacea is sold as an immunity booster when the German finding was that it would more likely be an immunity suppressent.
Contrary to your claim copied from vendors, the "German government" does NOT prescribe herbs at all. Guided by the recommendstions of Commission E, the government REGULATES herbs, it does not prescribe them. Echinacea, as one of the less dangerous (& least useful but very popular) herbs, happens also to be an over-the-counter herb (as in the US) requiring no prescription per se. But as the German government has done away with the "alternative" community of crackpots & insisted that actual physicians be the only persons legally empowered to give professional medical advice & treatments, the go-to person for herbal advice in Germany will be an M.D. -- unlike in the USA. In Germany as in the US not every doctor knows everything & many are too busy to look it up, but at least it will be in your medical file that your swilling herbal remedies, lessening the chances of the physician later prescribing a medication becomes toxic when mixed with certain herbs, or negate in value. Even if imperfect, the German system is an improvement, as the advice received from an M.D. is VASTLY more likely to be medically sound that that which Americans receive from vendors, store owners, & other non-physicians including many who insist on being addressed as Doctor even though they are not doctors.
The German government has arranged that doctors rather than healthfood store checkout tellers, self-styled naturopaths, occult homeopaths, smell therapists, & assorted non-physician loons control the decimination of herbs of all kinds in any medicinal context. This is supposed to help educate the public MEDICALLY on what might be helpful but probably won't be helpful, what has no chance in hell of being helpful, & what in fact really can be helpful. Echinacea happens not to be in that last category.
There have arisen some problems with the German system. German doctors who benefit financially by promoting herbs are responsible for certain Irreprodicble Results regarding plant estrogens effect on women -- no study outside of Germany has been able to reproduce the profitable findings. But largely the German studies of herbs have been as good as any elsewhere, & do not make any claims in favor of echinacea.
You'll also be sad to hear that in Germany the government colluding with pharmacists (rather than lying-ass superstion-vending herbalists) are responsible for the quality control of herbs. Thus if you buy Tahebo in Germany, it should actually have a minimum standard requirement of herbal quinine in it; but if you buy a Taheebo produce in the United States, it will be sawdust from the wrong species with no quinine at all, literally obtained as floor-sweepings from a sawmill (the taheebo used by the lumber trade is the wrong species; even the right species has herbal quinine under the bark, not in the bark or in the leaves or in the wood).
Or, if you buy saint john's wart in the United States, it will probably be ground up leaves & twigs with little or no medicinal property; but if you buy it in Germany it will be derived from the berries & roots & be relatively potent. So too if you buy echinacea in Germany, it will be extract or powder of the root only (rather than the leaves & twigs as in the USA). The German product will have a minimum required antioxidant content (making it as medicinally valid as a strawberry or a russet potato, which have greater antioxidant chemical properties).
This quality controls don't exist in the United States & therefor the quality of the products is a random affair. In nearly all cases even those few herbs that CAN be beneficial won't be beneficial because they are mere garden rubble sold as food supplements, not products that must meet even a minimal standard. Now the EFFICACY is a separate matter altogether -- Germany hasn't banned the use of worthless herbs in favor of the few valid ones, it has merely set up an environment whereby your chances of being correctly informed by a DOCTOR of the risks & possible (or impossible as the case may be) benifits.
So by the German method, if a patient wants to take St John's Wart for depression, they can do so. Ideally the individual will be told by their doctor a few simple truths: St John's Wart is a mild but potentially efficacious mood stablizer, but with potential side-effects equal to those of stronger medications. Plus now the doctor knows what the patient is taking, unlike in the United States where self-medicating depressives fail to tell their doctor what else they're taking, & so suffer unduly because St Johns Wart negates the function of many prescription medications.
For St John's Wart, the German system has worked really well. Between 70 & 75 million dollars (the US equivalent) per year are spent by German's on St John's Wart. The majority of users probably gained some benefit, even if the benifit was in avoiding an aggressive treatment of an actual mental health problem they probably don't have. "I'm feeling blue, doc, I want some meds," is quite different from having a mental health issue that REQUIRES meds. In most cases, some herbs provide at least a placebo affect, & with saint johns wart the evidence is it provides a bit more than the placebo effect.
By comparison to the 70+ million annually bought of St John's Wart with a doctor's assurance that it can be helpful, the much smaller ten million =formerly spent annually by Germans on echinacea is dropping ten to twenty percent each year because when DOCTORS inform their patients that it has not been shown to be useful for such things as the common cold, its use declines. When the patient is warned (as German doctors & even the echinacea bottle do warn) that taking echinacea more than 8 weeks may DAMAGE the immune system, this convinces many not to use it at all. But in the United States, it is widely used as a preventative taken daily for months or years on end, under the widespread mistaken belief that it is an immunity booster. That's right, it's second most common alleged value after its use for common colds is (in America) what the Germans warn is not only not true, but is the opposite of true. It DAMAGES immunity.
When a patient insists on it anway, the government has not insisted German doctors recommend only effective herbs, & patients can make their own decisions in these matters if they are not insanely insisting their health be worsened. To permit the worthless herb for respiratory illnesses is not profiteering cruelty, for the real instructions are to "drink plenty of water & get lots of rest &, oh, by the way, here's the placebo you wanted, please don't use it for longer than 8 weeks or it may harm your immune system."
The patient doesn't get it because it works, but because used properly it causes no harm; because people want to take SOMEthing & refuse to believe echinacea won't do a thing; & all this is better placed in a doctor's hands than an herbal crackpot's hands.
The physician's expectation is the patient will recover from a congestive cold whether or not treated with anything at all -- & will feel better in the meantime BELIEVING the placebo was part of the reason the inevitable recovery actually occurred. But if congestion does in fact worsens, a doctor rather than an herbal crackpot, naturopath, homeopath, smell therapist, or neighbohood crackhead, will be in charge, & can take measures to provide actual treatment.
It's a pretty good system all in all -- people get the herbs they demand with a much reduced chance of injuring themselves through harmful misuse or by failing to treat seriously a treatable illness. But this is not proof that Germans know something that even smell therapists know though doctors in all other countries can't figure it out.
The herbal industry lives in TERROR of the German system getting established in the United States, because thereafter quality controls would force vendors to throw away 99.9% of what they sell people today (i.e., sawdust & garden rubble); herbal crackpots without at least an M.D. will vanish from the scene as unqualified to give medical treatments for even a hangnail, rather than control the field as they do now; & the product availability will be shifted from the current sources to the pharmaceutical industry which can control the chemical content of the herbal extract or powder, without reference to its efficacy or lack thereof. The German system would bankrupt everyone presently involved in the American system wherein manufacturers, vendors, & retailers who have no restraints & are answerable to no physician or pharmacist & are left alone by the US government until after something actually kills a few people.
Herbs with zero medicinal properties tend to have zero side-effects so the US government doesn't interfer with their being packaged & sold -- it is only the VALID herbs, such as huang-ma or valerian, that the US government bans or restricts, because powerful herbs have powerful side-effects. Really the German method is way better, even if not faultless, Having an M.D. but being denied an "alternative" practitioner is not a 100% guarantee that crackpottism disappears, but the odds are way more in favor of the patient receiving credible information and/or care from the M.D. who, in Germany, is the only legitimate care-giver you're permitted.
Being in the hands of the medical community in Germany has meant a great many studies exist for many herbs, including echinacea. None have found it efficacious for treating the common cold; despite that vendors keep referring to studies that prove it can, turns out the best-case studies are merely inconclusive -- proving nothing is the best the vendors can hope for!
Annals of Internal Medicine (1 Jan 2001) published an analysis of the existing literature on Echinacea (restricted to double-blind & controlled studies), Turned out no study anywhere in the world, including Germany, has ever shown that Echinacea has any effect on the common cold. The studies ranged from inconclusive, to evidence of no benefit, but never evidence of benefit. What the studies DO indicate is that allergic reactions are common, & may echinacea can be especially harmful to people with asthma or hepititis. But as for positive medicinal effects, narry a one. Since that 2001 overview of the literature, more studies have been concluded, & whatever case (based on inconclusiveness) that could formerly be made for echinacea gets weaker with every trial.
Positive cases can be made for ginko biloba, for saint john's wart, for herbal quinine of one species of taheebo tree, & a few suchlike herbs. No such case can be made for echinacea. And even the Very Few potententially effective herbs are highly unlikely to have any of the required chemical compounds in the dried powders & wet extracts sold in healthfood stores to Americans, Canadians, & Brits (though the Brits may have easier access to German brands). You can self-medicate & maybe harm yourself with your HOME-GROWN St John's Wart, but the stuff sold in stores comes from unregulated packagers of rubbish incapable of delivering a measurable dosage of anything good bad or indifferent. The use of these products is therefore called Herbal Roulette.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's worth noting that in a relatively recent double-blind study done at Vancouver General Hospital (it was for a headache remedy if memory serves), just under 20% of the patients on the placebo reported positive results. And this isn't an unusual figure.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.