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Equinácea


¿Qué es?

La equinácea es una hierba. Las hojas, flores y raices de las diferentes especies de la planta equinácea se usan para hacer medicamentos.

La equinácea se usa mucho para combatir infecciones, especialmente del resfrío común y otras infecciones del tracto respiratorio superior. Algunas personas toman equinácea al primer síntoma del resfrío, con la esperanza de impedir el desarrollo del resfrío. Otras personas toman la equinácea una vez que el resfrío ha empezado, con la esperanza de hacer los síntomas menos severos. Las personas que usan la equinácea para tratar los síntomas tienen la idea correcta. Hasta el momento, los resultados de las investigaciones muestran que la equinácea puede ayudar a tratar un resfrío pero no a prevenirlo.

La equinácea se usa también contra muchas otras infecciones que incluyen: la influenza, las infecciones del tracto urinario, las infecciones de levadura vaginales, el herpes genital, las infecciones del torrente sanguíneo (septicemia), las enfermedades de las encías, la tonsilitis, las infecciones de estreptoccocus, la syphilis, el tifus, la malaria y la difteria.

Otros usos no relacionados a infecciones incluyen el síndrome de fatiga crónica (SFC), el reumatismo, las migrañas, la indigestión, el dolor, los mareos, las mordeduras de serpiente cascabel y el trastorno de déficit de atención e hiperactividad (TDAH).

Algunas veces, la gente aplica la equinácea a la piel para el tratamiento de furúnculos, abcesos, heridas en la piel, úlceras, quemaduras, eczema, psoriasis, daño por radiación ultravioleta, herpes simple, picaduras de abeja y hemorroides.

Las especies de equinácea son nativas de América del Norte y fueron usadas como remedios herbales tradicionales por las tribus indígenas de la Gran Pradera. Más tarde, los colonos siguieron el ejemplo de los indígenas y también empezaron a usar la equinácea con propósitos medicinales. Por un tiempo, la equinácea gozó de un estatus oficial como resultado de haber estado en la lista Del Formulario Nacional desde 1916 hasta 1950. Sin embargo, el uso de la equinácea dejó de ser popular en los Estados Unidos a raíz del descubrimiento de los antibióticos y la falta de evidencia científica apoyando su uso. Pero ahora, la gente se está interesando más en la equinácea porque algunos antibióticos no funcionan tan bien como antes contra ciertas bacterias.

Los productos de equinácea disponibles en el comercio vienen en muchas formas incluyendo tabletas, jugo y té.

Hay preocupación acerca de la calidad de ciertos productos de equinácea en el mercado. Los productos de equinácea son frecuentemente etiquetados erróneamente, y es posible que algunos ni siquiera contengan equinácea a pesar de lo que aparece en la etiqueta. No se confunda con el término “estandarizado”. No indica necesariamente un etiquetado exacto. Además, algunos productos de equinácea han estado contaminados con selenio, arsénico y plomo.

¿Qué tan efectivo es?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (La Base Exhaustiva de Datos de Medicamentos Naturales) clasifica la eficacia, basada en evidencia científica, de acuerdo a la siguiente escala: Eficaz, Probablemente Eficaz, Posiblemente Eficaz, Posiblemente Ineficaz, Probablemente Ineficaz, Ineficaz, e Insuficiente Evidencia para Hacer una Determinación.

La clasificación de la eficacia para este producto es la siguiente:

Posiblemente eficaz para...

  • El resfrío común. Muchos estudios científicos muestran que el tomar algunos productos de equinácea al observar los primeros síntomas de resfrío, puede disminuir levemente los síntomas del resfrío común en los adultos. Por otra parte, otros estudios científicos demuestran que su uso no ofrece ningún beneficio. El problema es que los estudios científicos han usado diferentes tipos de plantas de equinácea y diferentes métodos de preparación. Puesto que los estudios no han sido consistentes no sorprende que diferentes estudios muestren diferentes resultados. Si es que ayuda para tratar un resfrío, el beneficio, en el mejor de los casos, es probablemente pequeño.
    Tenga en mente que TRATAR el resfrío común es diferente que PREVENIR el resfrío común. El tomar equinácea no parece PREVENIR el inicio de un resfrío.
  • Infecciones vaginales por levaduras. El tomar equinácea y el aplicar una crema medicinal sobre la piel parece disminuir el porcentaje de recurrencia de la infección a un 16%, en vez de un 60.5% que ocurre cuando se usa econazol solo.

Posiblemente ineficaz para...

  • El herpes genital (Virus del Herpes simple, HSV). El tomar 800 mg dos veces al día de un extracto específico de equinácea (Echinaforce by Bioforce AG) por 6 meses no parece prevenir o disminuir la frecuencia o duración del herpes genital recurrente.

Insuficiente evidencia para hacer una determinación para...

  • Las infecciones del tracto urinario (IUs).
  • Los dolores de cabeza de migraña.
  • El síndrome de fatiga crónica (SFC).
  • El eczema.
  • La fiebre del heno.
  • Las alergias.
  • Las picaduras de abeja.
  • El trastorno de déficit de atención e hiperactividad (TDAH).
  • La influenza (flu).
  • Otras condiciones.

¿Cómo funciona?

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Al parecer la equinácea activa sustancias químicas en el cuerpo que disminuyen la inflamación y podrían disminuir los síntomas del resfrío y del flu.

Estudios de laboratorio sugieren que la equinácea puede estimular el sistema inmunológico del cuerpo, pero no hay evidencia que esto ocurra en las personas.

La equinácea también parece contener sustancias químicas que pueden atacar directamente las levaduras y otros tipos de hongos.

¿Hay preocupación por la seguridad de su uso?

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La equinácea es PROBABLEMENTE SEGURA para la mayoría de las personas cuando se usa a corto plazo. No hay suficiente información para saber si la equinácea es segura para el uso a largo plazo. Se han reportado efectos secundarios tales como fiebre, náuseas, vómitos, mal gusto, dolor de estómago, diarrea, dolor de garganta, sequedad de boca, dolor de cabeza, adormecimiento de la lengua, mareos, insomnio, desorientación, dolores de las articulaciones y dolores musculares.

La equinácea es POSIBLEMENTE SEGURA para los niños de 2 a 11 años cuando se usa por hasta 10 días. Eso si, algunos niños pueden desarrollar erupciones cutáneas.

La equinácea puede causar reacciones alérgicas, especialmente en aquellas personas que son alérgicas a ambrosía, crisantemos, caléndulas o margaritas. Si tiene alergias asegúrese de consultar con su proveedor profesional de salud antes de tomar equinácea.

La aplicación de equinácea a la piel puede producir enrojecimiento, picazón o erupciones.

Advertencias y precauciones especiales:

Embarazo y lactancia: No se tiene suficiente información acerca del uso de la equinácea durante el embarazo y la lactancia. Sea precavida y evite su uso.

Trastornos “auto-inmunológicos” tales como múltiple esclerosis (MS), lupus (lupus eritematoso sistémico, LES), artritis reumática (AR), una enfermedad a la piel llamada pénfigo vulgar u otros. La equinácea podría tener un efecto en el sistema inmunológico que podría empeorar estas enfermedades. No tome equinácea si tiene un trastorno inmunológico.

Tendencia a alergias hereditarias (atopia): Las personas con esta afección tienen una mayor probabilidad a desarrollar alergias a la equinácea. Si tiene esta afección es mejor evitar el uso de equinácea.

¿Existen interacciones con medicamentos?

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Moderadas

Tenga cuidado con esta combinación

Cafeína
El cuerpo descompone la cafeína para eliminarla. La equinácea puede disminuir la rapidez con que el cuerpo descompone la cafeína. El tomar equinácea junto con cafeína puede aumentar el nivel de cafeína en el torrente sanguíneo y aumentar los riesgos de efectos secundarios. Los efectos secundarios más comunes incluyen tiritones, dolor de cabeza y latidos rápidos del corazón.

Medicamentos alterados por el cuerpo (Sustratos de citocromo P450 1A2 (CYP1A2))
Algunos medicamentos son alterados y descompuestos por el hígado. La equinácea podría disminuir la rapidez con que el hígado descompone algunos medicamentos. El tomar equinácea junto con algunos medicamentos puede aumentar los efectos y efectos secundarios de algunos medicamentos. Antes de tomar equinácea consulte con su proveedor de atención médica si está tomando medicamentos que son modificados por el hígado.

Algunos de los medicamentos modificados por el hígado incluyen clozapina (Clozaril), ciclobenzaprina (Flexeril), fluvoxamina (Luvox), haloperido (Haldol), imipramina (Tofranil), mexiletino (Mexitil), olanzapina (Zyprexa), pentazocina (Talwin), propanolol (Inderal), tacrina (Cognex), teofilina, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig) y otros.

Medicamentos alterados por el cuerpo (Sustratos del citocromo P450 3A4 (CYP3A4))
Algunos medicamentos son alterados y descompuestos por el cuerpo. La equinácea puede cambiar la manera como el cuerpo descompone algunos medicamentos. El tomar equinácea junto con algunos medicamentos podría aumentar los efectos y efectos secundarios de algunos medicamentos. Antes de tomar equinácea consulte con su proveedor de atención médica si está tomando medicamentos que son modificados por el cuerpo.

Algunos de los medicamentos modificados por el cuerpo incluyen lovastatina (Mevacor), claritromicina (Biaxin), ciclosporina (Neoral, Sandimmune), diltiazem (Cardizem), estrógenos, indinavir (Crixivan), triazolam (Halcion) y muchos otros.

Medicamentos que debilitan el sistema inmunológico (Inmunosupresores)
La equinácea puede aumentar la actividad del sistema inmunológico. El tomar equinácea junto con algunos medicamentos que debilitan el sistema inmunológico podría disminuir la eficacia de estos medicamentos.

Algunos de los medicamentos que debilitan el sistema inmunológico incluyen azatioprina (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), ciclosporina (Neoral,Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), micofenolato (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisona (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroides (glucocorticoids) y otros.

Menores

Preste atención a esta combinación

Midazolam (Versed)
El tomar midazolam con equinácea aumenta la cantidad de midazolam que es absorbida por el cuerpo. Esto puede aumentar los efectos y efectos secundarios del midazolam, pero se necesita mas información al respecto.

¿Existen interacciones con hierbas y suplementos?

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No se conoce ninguna interacción con hierbas y suplementos.

¿Existen interacciones con alimentos?

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No se conoce ninguna interacción con alimentos.

¿Qué dosis se utiliza?

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La siguiente dosis ha sido estudiada en investigaciones científicas:

POR VÍA ORAL:

Para el tratamiento de infecciones del tracto respiratorio superior incluyendo el resfrío común y la influenza, se han usado una gran variedad de dosis dependiendo de la manera en que se ha preparado. Estas preparaciones incluyen:
  • Una tableta que contiene 6.78 mg de extracto crudo de Equinácea púrpura basado en un 95% de hierba y un 5% de raíz (Echinaforce, Bioforce AG): Se toman 2 tabletas 3 veces al día.
  • Cápsulas con extracto de jugo de Equinácea liofilizada: Se toman 100 mg tres veces al día.
  • Jugo de la hierba Equinácea púrpura: se toma una dosis diaria de 6 a 9 ml por hasta un máximo de 8 semanas. El jugo de la hierba Equinácea púrpura ha sido usado también en una dosis de 20 gotas cada 2 horas en el primer día y se sigue luego con 20 gotas tres veces al día hasta que los síntomas del resfrío y del flu mejoran.
  • Una tintura de la raíz de la equinácea pálida equivalente a 900 mg de hierba al día.
  • Un compuesto herbal de té de equinácea (Echinacea Plus, Traditional Medicinals), que consiste de las hojas de la Equinácea púrpura y de la Equinácea angustifolia además de un extracto seco de la raíz de la Equinácea púrpura. Se toman 5 a 6 tazas del té en el primer día, cuando aparecen los primeros síntomas, y se disminuye paulatinamente en 1 taza menos por día por los próximos 5 días. El té se prepara agregando 8 onzas de agua hirviendo a una bolsa de té y se deja remojando, cubierta, por 10 a 15 minutos.
  • Equinácea líquida (Echinagard): Se toman 20 gotas cada 2 horas en el primer día de síntomas y luego 3 veces al día por hasta un máximo de 10 días.

Otros nombres

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American Cone Flower, Black Sampson, Black Susans, Brauneria Angustifolia, Brauneria Pallida, Comb Flower, Coneflower, Echinacea Angustifolia, Echinacea Pallida, Echinacea Purpurea, Echinaceawurzel, Échinacée, Échinacée Angustifolia, Échinacée Pallida, Échinacée Pourpre, Échinacée Purpurea, Equinácea, Fleur à Hérisson, Hedgehog, Igelkopfwurzel, Indian Head, Kansas Snakeroot, Narrow-Leaved Purple Cone Flower, Pale Coneflower, Purple Cone Flower, Purpursonnenhutkraut, Purpursonnenhutwurzel, Racine d'echininacea, Red Sunflower, Rock-Up-Hat, Roter Sonnenhut, Rudbeckie Pourpre, Schmallblaettrige Kegelblumenwurzel, Schmallblaettriger Sonnenhut, Scurvy Root, Snakeroot, Sonnenhutwurzel.

Metodología

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Para saber más sobre cómo este artículo fue escrito, refiérase a la metodología metodología (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/spanish/druginfo/natural/methodology-sp.html) de la Base exhaustiva de datos de medicamentos naturales.

Referencias

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Para ver todas las referencias de la página de Equinácea, por favor diríjase a http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/spanish/druginfo/natural/981.html.
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Página actualizada 10 diciembre 2014