Echinacea is capable of enhancing the humoral immune response. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Enhancement of the humoral immune response by Echinacea purpurea in female Swiss mice.
Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Sep;103(9):2308-13. Epub 2008 Aug 12. PMID: 14686797
Department of Biological Sciences, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Various preparations of the plant Echinacea purpurea have been investigated for their potential to enhance immune function, primarily through activation of innate immune responses. Few studies have examined the potential for enhancement of humoral immunity. Using female Swiss mice we administered a volumetric dose of a glycerine extract of E. purpurea by oral gavage, to evaluate effects on the IgM specific antibody forming cell (AFC) response. Four days of treatment following immunization with sheep red blood cells (SRBC) produced a significant enhancement over naive controls at doses of 0.4 and 0.8 mL/kg/day. A few clinical trials and anecdotal reports have suggested that the greatest efficacy for E. purpurea occurs in acute use following onset of illness. A time course study, using the time of SRBC immunization to mimic the onset of illness, examined the effects of 8 and 4 days of E. purpurea treatment at 0.6 mL/kg/day. Only in the 4-day administration, with dosing beginning 1 hour after SRBC immunization, was there an observed enhancement of the antibody forming cell response. This supports the acute use of E. purpurea as suggested by anecdotal reports, and demonstrates the potential for enhancement of humoral immune responses as well as innate immune responses.