Echinacea is widely used to fight infections, especially the common cold and
other upper respiratory infections. Some people take echinacea at the first
sign of a cold, hoping they will be able to keep the cold from developing.
Other people take echinacea after cold symptoms have started, hoping they can
make symptoms less severe. The people who use echinacea to treat symptoms have
the right idea. Research to date shows that echinacea probably modestly reduces
cold symptoms, but it’s not clear whether it helps prevent colds from developing.
Echinacea is also used against many other infections including the flu, urinary
tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream
infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections,
syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.