< Whitehead, M. T., (2006). The effect of four weeks of Echinacea supplementation on erythropoietin and indices of erythropoietic status. B> Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(5), Supplement abstract 2256.

"Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is an herbal supplement derived from a North American perennial plant (Purple Coneflower) that is primarily used as a non-specific immunostimulant. Evidence from animal and cell culture models supports the role for Echinacea as a potential mediator of erythropoiesis."

This study determined whether four weeks of oral Echinacea supplementation resulted in alterations in erythropoietin, red blood cell count, hematocrit, or hemoglobin. Recreationally active males N = 24) were assigned randomly to either an Echinacea (N = 12) or a placebo (N = 12) group. Participants were supplemented for 28 consecutive days.

Serum erythropoietin was significantly greater in the Echinacea condition than in the placebo group at days, 7, 14, and 21. There were no significant within or between groups differences demonstrated in either group for red blood cell count, hematocrit, or hemoglobin.

Implication. Echinacea supplementation for 28 days promoted a significant increase in erythropoietin that lasted for 21 days.

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