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There may be even less evidence for the efficacy of goldenseal, an herb that Bob Martin, a 60-year-old teacher from Placitas, N.M., swears by. He takes it and echinacea three times a day at the first sign of a cold. He only gets sick if he doesn’t dose himself in time.

"Goldenseal hasn't been studied as much but I don't think that there's any inherent problem to using it as long as somebody doesn't have an allergy to it," Dr. Leopold says.

(Credit: Getty Images)

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