Echinacea not suitable for under 12s says MHRA

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) today advised parents and carers not to use oral herbal products containing Echinacea for children under 12 years of age.

The Agency says it is acting after receiving precautionary advice from the European Herbal Medicinal Products Committee (HMPC) and from the UK Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee (HMAC). They both concluded that the “perceived benefits of the use of Echinacea in children under 12 years are outweighed by the potential risks in this age-group and there is a low risk of allergic reactions but these could be severe”.

The MHRA says children aged 12 years or over and adults can continue to use oral products containing echinacea.

The labeling of echinacea products licensed under the Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) Scheme will carry the updated advice on new labelling. The MHRA also wants to see the labelling for unlicensed Echinacea  products similarly updated.

Richard Woodfield, the MHRA’s Head of Herbal Policy, said: “This is not a serious safety issue, but parents and carers need to be aware that children under 12 could have a low risk of developing allergic reactions, such as rashes from oral echinacea products.”