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Echinacea, a North American wildflower, contains a variety of biologically active substances.
Most adverse effects are mild and transitory; they include dizziness, fatigue, headache, and GI symptoms. No other adverse effects are known. Theoretically, echinacea is contraindicated in patients with autoimmune disorders, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, TB, and organ transplants because it may stimulate T cells. Echinacea inhibits some cytochrome P-450 enzymes and stimulates others; it can therefore potentially interact with drugs metabolized by the same enzymes (eg, anabolic steroids, azole antifungals, methotrexate). Allergic reactions are possible in patients with pollen allergies.
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