eISSN: 1644-4124
ISSN: 1426-3912
Central European Journal of Immunology
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vol. 33

Review paper
Aqueous and hydro-alcoholic extracts of Echinacea purpurea (L) Moench

Ewa Skopińska-Różewska
Halina Strzelecka
Aleksander Wasiutyński
Barbara J. Bałan
Jadwiga Nartowska
Michał Mazurkiewicz
Ewa Sommer
Janusz Bany

(Centr Eur J Immunol 2008; 33 (2): 78-82)
Online publish date: 2008/05/05
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Echinacea purpurea preparations are derived from the aerial parts of purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea (L) Moench Asteraceae=Compositae, which grows throughout North America and Europe. Information about use of Echinacea first came from American Indians. They used leaves and roots/rhizomes of Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia DC and Echinacea pallida Nutt, internally and externally, as remedies for many ailments. Plants were used fresh or, most often, dried, as infusion, succus or decoction [1-6].
The most ancient form of medical herbs use , aside from consuming the fresh or dried plant, is aqueous extract which may be dried to form powder. According to Materia Medica [7] contemporary “Echinacea purpurea preparations include liquid(aqueous or hydro-alcoholic)extracts of fresh or dried whole plant or aerial parts; fresh or dried preparations of root and rhizome; stabilized juice of the flowering tops, mixtures of any of the above preparations and tablets and capsules based on any of the above plant parts or corresponding extracts”. According to WHO Monograph [8] Herba Echinaceae purpureae consists of the fresh or dried aerial parts of Echinacea purpurea (L) Moench harvested in full bloom, and dosage forms are: powdered aerial parts, pressed juice and galenic preparations for internal and external use, as supportive therapy for colds, infections of respiratory and urinary tract, wound healing and various inflammatory skin diseases.
This is a general agreement, that therapeutic proprieties of Echinacea purpurea herb are connected with its immunostimulatory effects [9-30]. Various compounds are known to contribute to this activity – the most important are caffeic acid derivatives CADs (among them caftaric and cichoric acid), alkamides and polysaccharides [31-34]. It was found, that the persistence of enzymatic activity in fresh plant products, catalyzed the breakdown of cichoric acid . This reaction may be stopped by drying of plant material or by stabilization with alcohol. Since this observation a lot of commercial products of Echinacea purpurea are stabilized with alcohol – there are on the market preparations of fresh pressed juice stabilized later with alcohol (Immunal drops LEK, and Echinacin Madaus since 1938), or preparations of succus from fresh plants macerated with alcohol (Succus Echinaceae Phytopharm in liquid form produced for almost 18 years) and Echinapur Herbapol Poznań tablets, present...

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Echinacea purpurea, aqueous extracts, hydro-alcoholic extracts, immunotropic activity

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