Echinacea is likely safe for most people when taken by mouth in the short-term. Various liquid and solid forms of Echinacea have been used safely for up to 10 days. There are also some products, such as Echinaforce (A. Vogel Bioforce AG, Switzerland) that have been used safely for up to 6 months. There is not enough information to know if echinacea is safe to use as an injection. Some side effects have been reported such as fever, nausea, vomiting, unpleasant taste, stomach pain, diarrhea, sore throat, dry mouth, headache, numbness of the tongue, dizziness, insomnia, disorientation and joint and muscle aches.
Applying echinacea to the skin can cause redness, itchiness or a rash.
Echinacea is most likely to cause allergic reactions in children and adults who are allergic to ragweed, mums, marigolds or daisies. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking echinacea.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Children: Echinacea is possibly safe when taken by mouth in the short-term. It seems to be safe in most children ages 2-11 years. However, about 7% of these children may experience a rash that could be due to an allergic reaction. There is some concern that allergic reactions to echinacea could be more severe in some children. For this reason, some regulatory organizations have been recommended against giving echinacea to children under 12 years of age.
Pregnancy: Echinacea is possibly safe when taken by mouth in the short-term. There is some evidence that purple coneflower might be safe when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy without harming the fetus. But until this is confirmed by additional research, it is best to stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Breast feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking echinacea if you are breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
An inherited tendency toward allergies (atopy): People with this condition are more likely to develop an allergic reaction to echinacea. It’s best to avoid exposure to echinacea if you have this condition.