Echinacea tennesseensisethanol tinctures harbor cytokine- and proliferation-enhancing capacities

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Background:Members of the genus Echinacea are used medicinally to treat upper respiratory infections such as colds and influenza. The aim of the present investigation was to characterize the phytomedicinal properties of the American federally endangered species Echinacea tennesseensis.Methods:Fifty-percent ethanol tinctures were prepared from roots, stems, leaves, and flowers and tested separately for their ability to influence production of IL-1β, IL-2, IL-10, and TNF-α as well as proliferation by young human adult peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMBC) in vitro. Tincture aliquots were stored at three different temperatures (4, −20, and −80 °C) for 21 h before testing. At 1-month post-extraction, tinctures stored at −20 °C were tested again for cytokine modulation. Phytochemical analyses were performed using HPLC.Results:Fresh root, leaf, and flower tinctures stimulated PBMC proliferation. Fresh root tinctures alone stimulated IL-1β, IL-10, and TNF-α production. No tinctures modulated IL-2 production. Stem tinctures showed no activity. Storage temperature did not influence any outcomes. Root tinctures maintained their ability to modulate IL-1β, IL-10, and TNF-α production after 1 month of storage at −20 °C.Conclusions:These results suggest E. tennesseensis harbors phytomedicinal properties that vary by plant organ, with roots demonstrating the strongest activities.

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