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Brent A. Bauer, M.D.read biographyclose window
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Brent Bauer, M.D., is board certified in internal medicine. He is a consultant in the Department of Internal Medicine and director of the Department of Internal Medicine's Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Bauer, a native of Madison, Wis., is also a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School and a graduate of Mayo Medical School.
He serves on the editorial board of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter and is medical editor for EmbodyHealth Newsletter. He has been on staff at Mayo Clinic since 1992, first practicing at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., before joining Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., in 1996.
Dr. Bauer's principal research focus is the scientific evaluation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies that patients and consumers are using with increasing frequency. He has authored several book chapters and papers on this topic, and is the medical editor of the "Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine." Dr. Bauer also spearheaded collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Gaiam in the creation of a series of 10 DVDs (Mayo Clinic Wellness Solutions). These DVDs address common health problems (for example, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure) with integrative medicine approaches that empower people to take charge of their health. His work is at the forefront of the emerging field of integrative medicine which combines the best of conventional medicine with the best of evidence-based complementary therapies.
Dr. Bauer has served on the NIH-NCCAM study section and is currently collaborating on over 20 studies being conducted at Mayo Clinic evaluating CAM therapies ranging from acupuncture to valerian. He is also a member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; the American Federation for Medical Research; the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and other professional organizations.
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Echinacea: Is it effective for the common cold?
Will dietary supplements containing echinacea help me get over a cold faster?
from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Maybe, but not by much. Recent study results indicate that some echinacea supplements may shorten the duration of a cold by about half a day and may slightly reduce symptom severity. But these results were too minor to be deemed significant.
In the past, some studies have found echinacea to be helpful while other studies have found no benefit. Part of the problem is that echinacea products can contain different concentrations of the herb, and the echinacea extracts used in these products can come from the flowers, stems or roots of three different echinacea plant species. This makes it difficult to compare study results.
Echinacea generally doesn't cause problems for most people, but some people taking the herb have reported side effects such as stomach upset or diarrhea. Echinacea also has the potential to interact with other medications you might be taking, so talk with your doctor before using echinacea supplements.Next question
Zinc for colds: The final word?
- Barrett B, et al. Echinacea for treating the common cold. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2010;153:769.
- Echinacea. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Saper RB. Clinical use of echinacea. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 24, 2011.