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WHITE PLAINS, NY — March 18, 2004 — announced today that five echinacea supplements failed to pass recent independent testing. Lower than claimed amounts of key compounds such as echinacoside and phenols were the most common problem. One product also contained a higher than acceptable amount of lead. Six other products passed the testing. When used properly, echinacea has been shown to reduce the duration of colds in adults. Echinacea was the top-selling single herb in 2002, with sales of $188 million according to Nutrition Business Journal.

"If you are not getting the expected effect with echinacea, it may be the brand," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of "Products may fall short for many reasons: The wrong plant species or plant part may be used; levels of important plant chemicals may be low if the herb is not properly grown, harvested, processed, shipped and stored; and lead levels may be high due to contaminated soil."

The Echinacea Product Review is available at The Review lists results for 11 products of which selected 6 and 5 others were tested at the request of their manufacturers through's Voluntary Certification Program. The Review also provides information on how to best choose and use these supplements. Subscription is required for the full report.

Reviews of many other popular supplements are available from online. New Reviews soon to be released include, multivitamins/multiminerals, St. John's wort, valerian, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish and marine oils. The recently published paperback,'s Guide to Buying Vitamins and Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle? is available in bookstores, online from or through 800-431-1579. is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. is affiliated with (, an evaluator of online pharmacies. Subscription to is available online. For group subscriptions, Technical Reports, or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at

Copyright, LLC, 2004. All rights reserved.

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