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Does Echinacea Help Really Help With Colds and Which Brands Are Best?  

White Plains, New York, March 1, 2016 — Echinacea supplements are a popular choice for preventing colds and treating cold symptoms, but do they really work? And, with so many different types of Echinacea marketed, how do you know which one to choose? To answer these questions, ConsumerLab.com recently reviewed the clinical evidence and purchased Echinacea supplements, testing them to see whether they contained their expected amounts of phenolic compounds expected from Echinacea. It also tested for contamination with the heavy metals lead, cadmium and arsenic, and microbes such as Salmonella and E. coli if the product was made with whole parts of plants (as opposed to extracts).

ConsumerLab.com's tests found that one product was contaminated with lead and two other products did not seem to provide the amounts of Echinacea expected from their labels, as determined by chemical testing. It also identified a product which failed to disclose the amount of Echinacea it actually contains — a violation of FDA rules. Among the products which were Approved for Quality by ConsumerLab.com (including four products tested through CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program), those which were closest to what has been shown to work clinically were identified.

ConsumerLab.com's Echinacea Supplements Review is now available online at https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/echinacea_review/echinacea/. The report summarizes the clinical evidence regarding the use of Echinacea, including differences between species (such as E. purpurea and E. angustifolia), plant parts (such as aerial and root) and forms (extracts and herb powders). It also discusses dosage, what to look for on labels, how to use Echinacea, and potential side-effects. Tests and comparisons are included for the following products: A. Vogel Echinaforce, ChildLife Echinacea, Gaia Herbs Echinacea Supreme, GNC Herbal Plus Echinacea, LifeExtension Echinacea Extract, L'il Critters Immune C Plus Zinc and Echinacea, Nature's Bounty Echinacea, Nature's Sunshine Echinacea, Nature's Way Echinacea Purpurea Herb, Planetary Herbals Echinacea Glycerite, Puritan's Pride Echinacea, Rexall Echinacea, Rite Aid Echinacea, Spring Valley [Walmart] Echinacea, Swanson Superior Herbs Echinacea, and V [Vitamin World] Echinacea.

Founded in 1999, ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to ConsumerLab.com is available online and provides immediate access to reviews of more than 1,000 products from over 400 brands. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.