Last update Oct. 25, 2022

Echinacea

Low Risk

Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

The roots and aerial summits are used. It contains alkamides (alkylamides), polysaccharides, essential oil and flavonoids, among others (Fitoterapia.net, WHO 1999). Unproven effects: immune stimulant, wound healing, anti-inflammatory. Indicated for oral use in colds and bronchitis (Shah 2007) and for topical use in wounds and skin lesions.  Indications according to Commission E of German Ministry of Health: common cold, bronchitis, skin lesions. (Blumenthal 1998)

Some components of echinacea have been detected in breast milk, without having analyzed the possible effects on the infant. (Amer 2015, Mattias 2008)

Side effects are rare and not serious: gastrointestinal, skin rashes and allergic reactions. (Huntley 2005)

It has been used, together with other plants, in topical application to prevent or treat nipple cracks, without conclusive evidence of its effectiveness. (Niazi 2018, As'adi 2018)

Plant that is widely used even during pregnancy and breastfeeding (Kennedy 2013, Sachs 2013, Zaffani 2006, Nordeng 2004, Tesch 2003, , Einarson 2000, Gallo 2000). Although there is little evidence of its safety (Sachs 2013, The Royal 2013, Amir 2011, Huntley 2005), because a lack of toxicity with an appropriate dose and moderate consumption it should be compatible with breastfeeding. (Perri 2006). Do not use more than 8 weeks. (Blumental 1998)

Precautions when taking plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999, Hsu 1995):

  • Make sure they are from a reliable source: poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties (Hsu 1995), poisonings due to containing heavy metals extracted from the soil, and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi. (Anderson 2017)
  • Do not take in excess; follow the recommendations of expert phytotherapy professionals. “Natural” products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which much of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors if consumed in quantity or for an exaggerated time because they contain phytoestrogens. (Powers 2015, Zava 1998)

 

Alternatives

We do not have alternatives for Echinacea.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Group

Echinacea belongs to this group or family:

Tradenames

Main tradenames from several countries containing Echinacea in its composition:

References

  1. Fitoterapia.net. Vanaclocha B, Cañigueral S. Fitoterapia.net. 1992 - - Disponible en: https://www.fitoterapia.net. Consulted on June 9, 2022 Abstract
  2. Niazi A, Rahimi VB, Soheili-Far S, Askari N, Rahmanian-Devin P, Sanei-Far Z, Sahebkar A, Rakhshandeh H, Askari VR. A Systematic Review on Prevention and Treatment of Nipple Pain and Fissure: Are They Curable? J Pharmacopuncture. 2018 Sep;21(3):139-150. Abstract
  3. As'adi N, Kariman N. Herbal prevention and treatment of nipple trauma and/or pain in Iranian studies: A systematic review. J Herbmed Pharmacol. 2018;7:168–75. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  5. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. Amer MR, Cipriano GC, Venci JV, Gandhi MA. Safety of Popular Herbal Supplements in Lactating Women. J Hum Lact. 2015 Abstract
  7. Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Towers CV, Forinash AB. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk. Wolters Kluwer Health. Tenth edition (acces on line) 2015
  8. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  9. Sachs HC; Committee On Drugs. The transfer of drugs and therapeutics into human breast milk: an update on selected topics. Pediatrics. 2013 Sep;132(3):e796-809. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  10. Kennedy DA, Lupattelli A, Koren G, Nordeng H. Herbal medicine use in pregnancy: results of a multinational study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. The Royal Women’s Hospital Victoria Australia. Herbal and Traditional Medicines in Breasfeeding. Fact Sheet. 2013 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  12. Posadzki P, Watson LK, Ernst E. Adverse effects of herbal medicines: an overview of systematic reviews. Clin Med (Lond). 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  13. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  14. Amir LH, Pirotta MV, Raval M. Breastfeeding--evidence based guidelines for the use of medicines. Aust Fam Physician. 2011 Sep;40(9):684-90. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  15. Matthias A, Merika H, Addison RS, Bone KM, Lehmann RP. Bioavailability of echinacea alkamides in human breast milk. Planta Med 2008;74:921. Abstract SL 59. Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  16. Shah SA, Sander S, White CM, Rinaldi M, Coleman CI. Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2007 Abstract
  17. Zaffani S, Cuzzolin L, Benoni G. Herbal products: behaviors and beliefs among Italian women. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2006 Abstract
  18. Perri D, Dugoua JJ, Mills E, Koren G. Safety and efficacy of echinacea (Echinacea angustafolia, e. purpurea and e. pallida) during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Abstract
  19. Huntley AL, Thompson Coon J, Ernst E. The safety of herbal medicinal products derived from Echinacea species: a systematic review. Drug Saf. 2005 Abstract
  20. Nordeng H, Havnen GC. Use of herbal drugs in pregnancy: a survey among 400 Norwegian women. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2004 Abstract
  21. Tesch BJ. Herbs commonly used by women: an evidence-based review. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Abstract
  22. Gallo M, Sarkar M, Au W, Pietrzak K, Comas B, Smith M, Jaeger TV, Einarson A, Koren G. Pregnancy outcome following gestational exposure to echinacea: a prospective controlled study. Arch Intern Med. 2000 Abstract
  23. Einarson A, Lawrimore T, Brand P, Gallo M, Rotatone C, Koren G. Attitudes and practices of physicians and naturopaths toward herbal products, including use during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2000 Abstract
  24. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  25. WHO. World Health Organization. Geneva. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume I. WHO monographs 1999 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  26. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, editors. The American Botanical Council. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Integrative Medicine Com; Boston, MA, USA: 1998
  27. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  28. Hsu CK, Leo P, Shastry D, Meggs W, Weisman R, Hoffman RS. Anticholinergic poisoning associated with herbal tea. Arch Intern Med. 1995 Abstract

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