Michigan Medical School Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice:
An Evidence Based Approach
Feldt RPP, NCTMB, Holistic Health Practitioner
The Immune System:
Do Herbs Really Work?
Two Case Studies
Case Study: Prophylactic Use of Echinacea angustifolia
and purpurea Tincture for
Management of a Recurrent Staphylococcus Infection
(Revised and expanded October 2003)
This case concerns a woman with congestive heart failure as a result
of a heart attack at age 46. At age 53 she developed a severe staph
infection following a heart catheterization. The staph infection began
in her left arm, at the elbow, and was diagnosed by her family physician.
She was immediately placed on a program of broad spectrum antibiotics.
The inflammation and symptoms continued to worsen.
The next morning, with the symptoms worsening, additional antibiotics
were used. There was no effect by afternoon.
Threatened with an in-hospital stay on IV antibiotics, she decided to
use Echinacea angustifolia in tincture form in addition to the prescribed
antibiotics. 30-40 drops were taken, in water, every three hours. Her
symptoms began to decrease within two hours after taking the first dose.
She continued both the antibiotics and the Echinacea for two days, with
continuing improvement. She then stopped the Echinacea. The symptoms
returned within half a day.
She resumed taking the Echinacea with the antibiotics for the next two
days and the staph infection cleared up completely. She again stopped
taking the Echinacea, and at that time her MD discontinued the use of
the antibiotics. The symptoms began to come back, although more slowly,
after a day without either Echinacea or antibiotics.
She resumed the use of Echinacea every few hours, without antibiotics,
and the symptoms again receded. The frequent dose was continued for
a day or two, and then she changed to a prophylactic dose of ten drops
a day of Echinacea. The infection symptoms did not return.
Thereafter, until her death 7 years later from heart attack, she took
ten drops of either Echinacea angustifolia or Echinacea purpurea on
a daily basis. If more than two days passed without taking that small
amount, the original symptoms from the staph infection would return.
Resumption of the small dose of Echinacea would cause the symptoms to
abate. This was proven in at least five instances over the seven years
she took the herb.
The second case study is
of a 21 year old UM student. She had mononucleosis. Two months later,
she remained fatigued, depressed, and unable to resume her work as a
student. She reported that she felt as bad as she did when she had mono,
but that the doctors and everyone else said she was over it and should
be feeling better.
She took ten drops of Echinacea Angustifolia in water every day
for the next two weeks. After just two weeks of using the herb, she
reported that she felt better than she had in months: her fatigue was
completely gone, she no longer felt that she was still ill, she was
back to school, and she was no longer depressed.
She attributed her improvement completely to the herb, as nothing
else had changed during the time she used it, and she had seen no improvement
until she started taking Echinacea. She continued to take Echinacea
for two more months, with the positive effect leveling off after about
A student of the healing arts since 1973, Linda Diane Feldt is
a Registered Polarity Practitioner, Nationally Certified in Therapeutic
Massage and Bodywork, a Certified Nutritional Consultant, has completed
an apprenticeship with Susun Weed in Herbology and has achieved an eclectic
training in Craniosacral Therapy from John Upledger and others beginning
in 1981, as well as other extensive training and experience. She has
had a full time private practice in Ann Arbor since 1981.
Nationally recognized in the field of Bodywork, Linda Diane served
as President and a long time board member of The American Polarity
Therapy Association, and as a Board Member of The National Certification
Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
Linda Diane Feldt is the Author of "Spinach and Beyond: Loving Life and Dark Green Leafy Vegetables", "Dying Again: thirteen
years of writing and waiting", the book and video "Massage:
Learning to Give and to Receive" and a forthcoming book on ethics
and the bodywork profession.