In view of the fact that over 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned (Skrabanek, 1992), inadvertent gestational exposure may be inevitable for women who intend to discontinue use once pregnant. Given the widespread use of herbal supplements and the lack of evidence on safety, it is critical that special populations, such as pregnant and lactating women, consult their healthcare providers before using these products. Currently, there are no known contraindications to the use of Echinacea preparations during pregnancy and lactation (Blumenthal et al., 2000). Nevertheless, a product cannot be assumed to be free of harmful effects purely based on anecdotal evidence or because it is derived from a natural source. The first prospective study assessing the safety of Echinacea use during pregnancy failed to detect any increased risk. However, due to the limited sample size of this single study, further investigation is necessary.

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