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German researchers have conducted a clinical trial proving that a traditional herbal combination significantly treats and prevents severe respiratory tract infections.
The researchers, from Germany's prestigious Carl Gustav Carus Medical Academy, utilized conventional medicine protocols to administer this double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled study.
The researchers randomized 344 patients into three groups. Each of the patients were given two tablets three times a day during the incubation period of respiratory infection.
One group was given the herbal combination three times a day, another group was given the herbal combination twice a day and a placebo the other time, and a third group was given placebo tablets three times a day. The patients were adults – aged between 18 and 75 years old.
The herbal treatment consisted of extracts of Armoraciae rusticanae radix – also called Horseradish root - and Tropaeoli majoris herba – also called Nasturtium. Both of these have been utilized in traditional western and South American herbal medicines for treating respiratory ailments.
Over the period, the researchers observed the number of new respiratory infections, their duration, and their severity. They also analyzed the patients' well being and range of satisfaction with their treatments.
The researchers found that those who took the placebo had twice the rate of respiratory infections than those taking the herbal remedy three times a day. And the placebo group had 38% higher infection rates than did the group taking the herbal combination twice a day.
The researchers concluded that, "this trial demonstrates the efficacy and safety of the combination herbal medicinal product as the treatment of first choice in the prophylactic treatment of episodes of respiratory tract infections."
Horseradish root has been used for respiratory infections – often termed "catarrhs" - for hundreds of years in Europe. It has also been used for muscle aches and urinary tract infections. The German Commission E monographs recommend 20 grams of fresh root a day for treatment. Because of its heat, fresh horseradish root can cause some digestive discomfort in those with sensitive stomachs, and certainly in children. The study above stated noted no such negative side effects for the pill treatments.
Tropaeoli majoris herba – Nasturtium – has been a popular German folk remedy since Spanish sailors brought the plant's seeds back from South America. The colorful flowers, the small fruits and the plant's leaves are all utilized for medicinal purpose. They maintain a peppery flavor and may be eaten fresh in salads and other dishes. An essential antiseptic oil is often made from crushing the plant's fruit and flowers.
- Fintelmann V, Albrecht U, Schmitz G, Schnitker J. Efficacy and safety of a combination herbal medicinal product containing Tropaeoli majoris herba and Armoraciae rusticanae radix for the prophylactic treatment of patients with respiratory tract diseases: a randomised, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial. Curr Med Res Opin. 2012 Nov;28(11):1799-807.
- Blumenthal M. Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Am. Bot. Counc., 1998.