Dalrymple responds to a recent study concluding that long-term, diligent doses of echinacea reduce the incidence of colds by 26-60 percent, though other studies have found no such link:
Let us suppose for a moment that further scientific tests on echinacea show that, contrary to the hopes raised, it really does not work either to prevent or to cure colds: will that be the end of its career?By no means. We each – man, woman and child – spend about £10 a year on cold remedies, most of which we know perfectly well will not shorten the duration of our colds (which, incidentally, are responsible for about 50 per cent of time lost at work through illness, so that colds are more economically than medically significant). But we are temperamentally incapable of saying to ourselves when ill, “There is nothing I can do about it”, and some of the remedies give us symptomatic relief, if only by making us drowsy.About a third of people in Britain take vitamin supplements, too; we feel, in our bones rather than with our minds, that there must be a diet that will keep us healthy and free of disease.
H/t Teddy Msigwa