From Pickering, Ontario, Canada:
Is it safe for a Type 1 diabetic child to use echinacea for a short period when they have a cold or flu? I have heard it should not be used by people with autoimmune diseases and that diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease.
Echinacea is reputed to be an immune system stimulant and has been widely used as a treatment for the common cold. It might be argued that it could shorten the honeymoon period; but I do not think it would have effect on the established Type 1 diabetic. On a purely personal basis I don't think it would do much good either and I am reminded of a leading article of a few years back in the British Medical Journal that said that colds got better in seven days if you used antihistamines or decongestants, etc., and in a week if you did none of these things except staying at home for a day or two. This is not to deny the value of a placebo effect. A good reference is Herbs of Choice by Varro E. Tyler PhD. published by the Pharmaceuticals Products Press, an imprint of Haworth Press Inc. You can order the hardcover or order the softcover directly from Amazon.com. I would also think that this would be available in any large bookstore, like Barnes & Noble.
Incidentally, yes, Type 1 Diabetes is thought to be an autoimmune disorder.
Original posting 16 Nov 97
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