Chamomile tea usually causes
Here’s the thinking behind this one: Since many people are
allergic to herbs in the daisy family (ragweed comes to mind),
no one should drink chamomile tea. Sure, in some instances,
individuals will have allergies to this plant family, one
of the herb world’s biggest groups, incorporating multiple
medicinal plants such as chamomile, feverfew, and echinacea.
But it’s the inhaled pollen—not the leaf and flower, brewed
in a tea—that poses the problem.
Chamomile tea is the third most commonly consumed tea in the
world. Allergic reaction is exceedingly rare. Caution dictates
that those allergic to plants in this family tread slowly
with these medicines, but most people will do just fine.
Echinacea reduces immune function
after prolonged use.
This seems logical, but it’s a fear that stems from a drug-oriented
mindset. No evidence exists to show that this herb blunts
immune response. Traditional practitioners administered
echinacea to patients for months at a time with no ill effect
to the immune system. As one of the most widely used herbs
of the nineteenth century, echinacea was prescribed extensively
by physicians of that day. They made no mention of time
limits in their journals. Neither did European physicians,
who used and studied the herb extensively from the 1930s
through the 1990s.
While it’s true that the German Commission E monographs
mention dosage limitation and contraindications for licorice,
several scientists (including German echinacea experts Bauer
and Wagner, who helped create the monographs) question this.
They argue that there’s no scientific reason for the dose
limitation, and point out that no notations exist to help
explain the reasoning or processes behind the Commission’s
conclusions. In light of this, we can safely place this
“truth” about echinacea in the myth category.
Echinacea stops having an
effect after ten days.
In this myth, echinacea has the opposite problem. Rather
than question the danger it may pose in the long-term, this
“fact” questions whether echinacea even works beyond the
short term. This pervasive, popular myth finds its roots
in the mistranslation of one sentence in a German study.
English-language articles have widely reported that echinacea
loses its ability to stimulate immune response after about
ten days’ use. It has subsequently become standard practice
for health practitioners to recommend a ten-dayon/ five-day-off
pattern for longterm treatment. A study, published in 1989
in German, is invariably given as the reasoning behind this
The article in question included a graph that indeed shows
protective white blood cell activity declining after day
five and trailing off to a plateau from day eight to ten.
The problem: In the study, researchers actually discontinued
administering echinacea after day five. The duration of
treatment got lost in the translation from German to English.
Echinacea does not stop delivering its immune-boosting effects,
so you shouldn't feel the need to take a break after ten