Echinacea may have a role to play in increasing lactation. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Effect of Echinacea augustifolia extract on cell viability and differentiation in mammary epithelial cells.
Phytomedicine. 2008 Aug;15(8):555-62. PMID: 18424103
Department of Veterinary Morphophysiology, University of Torino, Via Leonardo da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco, TO, Italy.
Echinacea spp. are popularly used as an herbal medicine or food supplement for enhancing the immune system and activating biological property in different tissues. In this study we show the biological effect of Echinacea augustifolia extract on cell viability and cell differentiation in mammary epithelial cell lines. These effects have been observed in two different cell line derived from mouse (HC11) and bovine (BME-UV). Echinacea extract enhanced cell liability from 100 to 1000 ng/ml in association with growth factors, epidermal growth factor (EGF) or insulin, but also without EGF (p<0.05) up to 37% vs. control. This effect may be modulated by MAPK and Akt activation that Echinacea extract treatment increased and/or by a reduction of caspase 3 activity, showed a dose-response decrease after Echinacea treatment. Finally Echinacea extract was able to increase (p<0.05) at 100 ng/ml beta-casein expression in association with PRL (5 microg/ml). These data demonstrate that Echinacea angustifolia extract can stimulate mammary epithelial cell physiology and may be considered a candidate to support mammary gland activity during a mammogenetic and lactogenetic state.