to an advisory released by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB), Echinacea, a very
popular herbal treatment, has been banned from being administered to children
below the age of 12 years.
is a popular flower-based herbal remedy often given to diminish the severity of
common cold and to reduce its frequency of occurrence.
latest safety evaluations of IMB states that using Echinacea could be linked to rare side effects, mainly allergic
reactions which in some cases may be severe
. The board does not believe
this to be a serious safety issue, but says that the measures taken, which they
claim are based on scientific evaluations, are merely precautionary in nature.
Supporters of herbal remedies have been critical of the board's decision. The
Irish Association of Health Stores has demanded that the board show them the
evidence on which they based their decision. Their contention is that the
products containing Echinacea had been given to children in Ireland for almost
20 years, and that over this period no adverse event has been reported.
The association also believes that there was no evidence of the product being
unsafe and that the IMB was completely unjustified in banning the remedy for
children. The ban on the herb would
elevate infection rates and increase the sales of antibiotics, they warned.
herbalists who consider Echinacea a very safe drug point out that banning
peanuts is a more sensible measure to banning Echinacea. Despite the protests,
the IMB is going ahead with the ban and have asked retailers, and others
involved in marketing and sales of the drug, to remove it from the shelves.
Adult product, however, is intact.
The decision to ban the product by the IMB has
been influenced by the Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products of the European