Reproduction

In a prospective, controlled study, 206 women who reported use of Echinacea during their pregnancy were compared to a group of 206 women who were matched to the study group with regards to maternal age, alcohol, and cigarette use. In comparing the rates of major and minor malformation, it was found that there were no statistical differences in number of live births, spontaneous abortions, therapeutic abortions, or major malformations. This study suggests that use of Echinacea during organogenesis is not associated with any detectable increased risk for any major malformations (37).

In a study of human sperm, Echinacea was found to inhibit the motility of the sperm only at high concentrations and after 24 hours. One potential effect of Echinacea is thought to be the inhibition of hyaluronidase activity. Hyaluronidase is localized on the sperm head and helps the sperm to penetrate the oocyte. This potential inhibition could prevent sperm from fertilizing oocytes, but further studies are needed to confirm this potential interaction (38).

Another study of human sperm and oocytes showed that Echinacea at high concentrations had adverse effects on oocytes and suggested that Echinacea damages reproductive cells (39).

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