Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

The Travails of Echinacea

with 3 comments

From The West Wing

President Bartlett: Is it possible I’m carrying something called “Euthanasia” in my pocket?
Sam Seaborne: Echinacea?
President Bartlett: That would be it.

Last week, in response to cold-like symptoms, my wife began her usual regiment of vitamin C, non-drowsy Sudafed, and Echinacea tea.  I really like Echinacea.  It’s a strange little word, one my MS Word editor insists that I capitalize.  It smells good in tea.  And it does seem to ward off cold-like symptoms.  After a conversation with my mother-in-law, however, my wife had to put the self-aggrandizing little herb back on the shelf. 

Echinacea, she told us, could be harmful to infants who breastfeed.  Being the cautious parents we are, my wife and I did a little digging.  Sure enough, there on the box was a warning—consult your physician if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.  And it was printed in bold type; I’m surprised I missed it. 

So we called the nurse at the doctor’s office.  Her desk reference didn’t really tell her anything, just that there has been no conclusive support for the safe use of Echinacea.  So she told us to call poison control.  Poison control told us that, despite the warning, there just hasn’t been enough human testing with Echinacea to know whether it’s harmful or not. 

Brilliant, I thought.  Chalk it up to another corporate endeavor to avoid prosecution. 

Nevertheless, my wife quit drinking the tea, and the little one appears to be doing fine.  He hasn’t started growing hair in his ears or anything at least.  And when the cold-like symptoms descended upon my wellness, I drank to my heart’s content.  I suffered a full two days longer than my wife did. 

Perhaps Echinacea is not the herb of quickest relief.


Written by taj

August 17, 2007 at 2:42 pm

3 Responses

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  1. That’s all well and good, and it is observant of you to recognize the value of echi… You probably would be better served by examining the value of non-drowsy Sudafed in breast milk. I presume you are referring to the behind-the-counter “real” pseudoephedrine and not the “fake” Sudafed PE, which contains phenylepherine. Whichever the case, it would probably be advisable to investigate more fully.

    Love you guys

    Is the little man driving yet? Shaving? I only ask because I realize how advanced he is/will be.


    August 17, 2007 at 5:32 pm

  2. Well, now that you alert me to the ills of Sudafed (of which she had only one, and that was last Saturday; mom and baby are perfectly fine…but I still feel like an idiot), I’m not sure I should let him operate any machinery or heavy equipment.


    August 17, 2007 at 7:13 pm

  3. Glad to hear it and well-received. However, Sudafed is (as your first post indicated) non-drowsy, it would probably be okay for you to allow him to operate heavy machinery.


    August 19, 2007 at 12:42 pm

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