Echinacea stimulates macrophage function in the lung and spleen of normal rats. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Echinacea stimulates macrophage function in the lung and spleen of normal rats.
J Nutr Biochem. 2002 Aug;13(8):487. PMID: 12165361
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Echinacea plant extract has been used for immunostimulation for many years but the evidence supporting its therapeutic potential is still controversial. Using male Sprague-Dawley rats (425-475 g), an in vivo study was conducted to examine the immunomodulatory effects of preparations of Echinacea containing its components cichoric acid, polysaccharides and alkylamides in different concentrations. The rats were gavaged orally with these preparations, two times/day for 4 days. Phagocytic activity of alveolar macrophage was increased with increasing concentrations of the Echinacea components. A trend of increase in TNF-alpha and nitric oxide release by the alveolar macrophages following an in vitro stimulation with LPS was also evident. An enhanced release of cytokines (such as TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma) in response to Echinacea components, was also apparent in rat's spleen macrophage, but at higher concentrations. These results suggest that the Echinacea preparations containing optimal concentrations of cichoric acid, polysaccharides and alkylamides are potentially effective in stimulating an in vivo, non-specific immune response in normal rats.