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06 October 2009
For years, Echinacea, an extract of a North American daisy-like plant, has been a popular remedy to ward off colds and flu.
Now the Common Cold Centre is to conduct one of the largest-ever clinical trials of the herbal medicine. The clinical trial is sponsored by Bioforce of Switzerland, which is a world leader in natural products and herbal medicines.
The Centre, which is internationally recognised for its work on the causes and treatments of colds and flu, is looking for 1,000 volunteers for its study this winter – and hoping staff members will come forward.
Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre, said: "Colds and flu are our most common illnesses, leading to thousands of lost days at work, school and college every year. We want to see just how effective Echinacea can be in preventing these diseases. We are hoping for the support of University staff in this study."
The study lasts for four months. Volunteers, who should be in good health, will be asked to give a blood sample at the beginning and end of the study. Each volunteer will then be given a tincture to take daily – Echinacea for half the sample and a dummy placebo for the other half. They will be asked to complete a daily diary to record any cold and flu symptoms. Volunteers should be over 18 and the Centre is looking for a good spread of all age groups. Volunteers will be paid for their participation in the study.
Anyone interested in taking part in the study should contact the Common Cold Centre on 02920 874099 or email@example.com . Alternatively, they can simply call in at the Centre, located at the University’s School of Biosciences, between Museum Avenue and Park Place.
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