The immunomodulatory and antiviral potential of Echinacea spp.

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O. Sorokin(1), Candidate of Medical Sciences; A. Panova(2); Associate Professor M.
Subotyalov(2), DSc (1)OOO «VedaGenetika», Novosibirsk (2)Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University

Herbal medicines (phytopreparations) made from Echinacea plants are widely used in the treatment and prevention of upper respiratory diseases caused by cold and influenza viruses. The purpose of this investigation is to evaluate the immunomodulatory and antiviral potential of Echinacea. The authors have conducted a systematic literature review showing that among the nine existing Echinacea species, only Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea have similar properties in the modulation of the immune system. The pharmacological effect of Echinacea species is associated with four classes of compounds: caffeic acid derivatives, polysaccharides, glycoproteins, and alkamides. Numerous in vitro and in vivo experimental and clinical findings show that Echinacea extracts stimulate the production of interferons and cytokines, contribute to the increased activity of phagocytes and natural killer cells, enhance the synthesis of immunoglobulins, and have a direct antiviral activity against influenza and cold viruses. Studies indicate that the aboveground parts and roots of Echinacea have antiviral activity against influenza virus, herpes simplex virus, and coronavirus. Echinacea extracts have also been established to be able to affect antitumor immunity components. The data available in scientific literature on the efficacy of Echinacea preparations in treating upper respiratory diseases are quite contradictory, which makes it necessary to conduct additional clinical trials using specific standardized medicines. The review study has demonstrated that the timely addition of Echinacea to the combination therapy of acute respiratory viral infection can contribute to a faster recovery and prevent the development of complications.

infectious diseases
immunomodulatory effect
antiviral activity

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