Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Photo of the Day

Closeup macro shot of bumblee on coneflower, also known as echinacea. (Click on image for full sized view).

A popular herbal remedy, or botanical, believed to benefit the immune system; it is used especially to alleviate common colds and the flu. Echinacea is extracted from the roots and flowering tops of the purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia and E. purpurea). Echinacea should not be used in progressive systemic and auto-immune disorders such as tuberculosis, leicosis, connective tissue disorders, collagenosis and related diseases such as lupus erythematosus, according to the German Kommission E. Its use in AIDS or opportunistic infections in AIDS patients is controversial.

If used for more than 8 weeks, echinacea may cause liver damage.² It should not be used with other known hepatotoxic drugs such as anabolic steroids, amiodarone (Pacerone® or Cordarone®), methotrexate or ketoconazole (Nizoral®).

So use some caution when consuming a lot of this. I take methotrexate, so this information was quite relevant. I didn't realize the danger was hepatoxicity - i thought the issue was that it enhanced the immune system and thus would be contraindicated with a disease such as mine (rheumatoid arthritis), where the idea is to damp the immune system down (or the part of it that is doing damage) . That is the prevalent theory amongst most rheumatologists, although there is debate about this as well (there's always a debate in medicine).

No comments: