Context An analysis of the context is necessary to guide the choice of the most effective strategies of intervention to prevent violence. Given a specific context, appropriate early warning signs and indicators can be selected and the suitable tools for intervention can be identified.
Steven Novella on December 22, Shares Echinacea purpurea, an ineffective form of treating and preventing colds. Echinacea continues to be a popular herbal product, used primarily for treating and preventing colds and flus.
Reports of major negative clinical trials have had only a modest and temporary effect on the popularity and sale of this herb, contradicting claims that the utility of such research is to inform consumers.
In the current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine there is a new study of Echinacea for the treatment of cold symptoms: History of Echinacea Modern proponents of Echinacea frequently cite as support the claim that this plant has been used for centuries by many Native American cultures.
This much is well-documented, but what is not clear is what Echinacea was used for. For this there is no clear answer, except that Echinacea was used for different and unrelated conditions, from fatigue to snake bites.
Let us consider the value of the claim for traditional use of any treatment. Native American cultures did not have a written language, nor a tradition of science, rigorous observation, or objective confirmation.
This is not a criticism — the latter points are true of every human pre-scientific culture. This is perhaps exacerbated by the dependence upon oral tradition.
Further, the concept of illness and of specific ailments was very different in ancient cultures than modern concepts of disease. Add to that the challenge of proper translation, and it is extremely difficult to correlate what Echinacea was actually used for with any modern application.
In addition, there is no clear record that Echinacea was used to treat upper respiratory viral infections. So the claim for traditional use is dubious, but even if it were demonstrably true that is still a very weak justification for any specific treatment.
The traditional use claim is based upon the demonstrably false assumption that centuries of use of a treatment without rigorous testing is compelling evidence for its efficacy. This assumption is contradicted by history, one dramatic example of which is the use of blood-letting and purging as part of Galenic medicine the balancing of the four humors for not just centuries but over two millennia in Western culture.
Antiquity is no guarantee of efficacy. Human nature can apparently perpetuate worthless treatments indefinitely. The journey of Echinacea from traditional use in the New World to its modern popularity as a cold remedy is a tortuous one.
It was first popularized by a dubious physician and snake-oil salesman called H. In the late s he sold Echinacea as a panacea, claiming it cured everything, including cancer. He also heavily marketed the Native American connection, which was popular at the time.
Eclectic physicians followed a tradition that included heavy use of herbal remedies. King was instrumental in the popularity of Echinacea at this time and until about the s.
The story of Echinacea then resurfaces in Germany in the s. A German doctor by the name of Gerhard Madaus became interested in Echinacea. He was a proponent of unconventional medical treatments and a promoter of herbal medicine in Germany.
He visited the US with the intention of bringing back seeds for Echinacea augustifolia the variety used, apparently, by Native Americans but instead brought back seeds for Echinacea purpurea — and for that reason the latter variety of Echinacea became popular in Europe.
While there were and continue to be many studies of the basic science of Echinacea, there were no rigorous clinical trials of its safety or efficacy. Given the history, there is also no particular reason to believe that Echinacea might be useful for colds, versus any other medical ailment.
Clinical evidence against Echinacea This latest study add to the prior clinical research for Echinacea and cold symptoms, which is basically negative. Like any such clinical research, there are lots of small and poorly controlled studies, with mixed results.
Even the larger and somewhat controlled studies have mixed results, but the largest and best controlled studies are all negative. A Cochrane review found: Main results Sixteen trials including a total of 22 comparisons of Echinacea preparations and a control group 19 placebo, 2 no treatment, 1 another herbal preparation met the inclusion criteria.
All trials except one were double-blinded. The majority had reasonable to good methodological quality. Three comparisons investigated prevention; 19 comparisons investigated treatment of colds.
A variety of different Echinacea preparations were used.SINCE the early s, Russia experienced gradual decline of its influence in the Middle East. The outburst of civil war in Syria in and Syria’s close partnership with Russia became a reason for few analysts to start perceiving the event as an opportunity that might restore Kremlin’s lost influence by placing Russia at the centre of the region’s geopolitical map.
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