Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Kinesiology and Nutrition


Echinacea purpurea, a purple coneflower plant of the compositae family (Asteraceae), is native to North America and commonly used as an herbal supplement to enhance immune function. Echinacea purpurea has been shown to stimulate macrophage activity which is a known stimulator of nitric oxide (NO) production. Echinacea purpurea supplementation (8,000 mg·d-1) in untrained (42.5 ± 1.6 mL·kg-1·min-1) males was shown to elicit a 63% increase (p < 0.05) in serum erythropoietin (EPO) following two weeks of supplementation. This is supported in part by earlier findings which indicated that four weeks of Echinacea purpurea supplementation demonstrated a non-significant increase in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). It is plausible that Echinacea-induced EPO production may stimulate physiological responses independent of and/or in addition to erythropoiesis. There is also evidence suggesting EPO has vasculo-protective effects including the activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Based on these findings, a proposed non-hematological response to the Echinacea-induced increase in EPO could be enhanced NO production. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether six weeks of oral Echinacea purpurea supplementation augmented NO production as a result of an Echinacea-induced increase in EPO and/or Echinacea-induced macrophage activity.

Publication Title

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition





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