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Primrose and Thyme in Bronchitis

The effectiveness and safety of a fixed amount of primrose root and thyme fluid extract were tested in a clinical study for the treatment of acute bronchitis. The study included 150 previously untreated patients diagnosed with acute bronchitis for less than two days (or 48 hours). Patients were either treated with a primrose root and thyme combination mixture (referred to as the treatment group comprised of 75 patients: 45 women and 30 men) or a placebo mixture (referred to as the control group comprised of 75 patients: 52 women and 23 men). The bronchitis symptoms (which included: cough, sputum, abnormal lung sounds, chest pain during coughing, and difficulty breathing), as assessed by the bronchitis severity score (BSS), of the treatment group relative to the control group were significantly decreased. The benefits of the treatment group were seen as early as 3 to 5 days after treatment and also at 7 to 9 days after treatment. At the end of the study, significantly more patients were considered symptom-free at the end of the study period in the primose root and thyme mixture treatment group (44 of 75 or 58.7% of the patients) than the placebo mixture control group (4 of 75 or 5% of the patients). At the end of the study, 90% of both patients and physicians rated the tolerability of both medications was rated as “good” or “very good”. Interestingly, the number of reported side effects was significantly higher in the placebo group versus the treatment group.

Reference: Gruenwald J, Graubaum HJ, and Busch R. Efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of thyme and primrose root in patients with acute bronchitis. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Arzneimittelforschung. 2005;55(11):669-76.

Eucalyptus Oil in Rhinosinusitis

Cineole, the active ingredient in eucalyptus oil, has been shown to be effective and safe for patients diagnosed with rhinosinusitis (also known as inflammation or swelling of the sinuses and nasal cavity). In a clinical study, patients diagnosed with rhinosinusitis were either treated with cineole capsules in the treatment group (76 patients) or placebo capsules in the control group (76 patients). Symptoms (that included headache on bending, sensitivity to pressure, general discomfort, nasal blockage, secretions, headaches, and fever), as determined by a symptoms-sum-score, significantly decreased (more than half of the symptom score) relative to the control group as early as 4 days after treatment and also at 7 days after treatment. After 7 days of treatment, 92% of patients in the cineole group versus 45 % of patients in the placebo group showed improvement of more than half of the symptoms measured. During treatment, no side effects were attributed to the study medication and there were no significant difference was seen in tolerability between the two groups. During the 7 days of treatment, compliance was good in all patients.

Reference: Kehrl W, Sonnemann U, and Dethlefsen U. Therapy for acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis with cineole: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Laryngoscope. 2004 Apr;114(4):738-42.

Marshmallow Root for Cough

In two independent surveys, 822 consumers buying either syrup or lozenges containing marshmallow root extract to treat their dry cough were asked about their 7-day treatment to document their view on the effectiveness and safety of the preparation. One survey was about the syrup preparation (516 respondents) and the other survey was about the lozenge preparation (306 respondents). Both preparations showed good effect. All symptoms, including dry cough, scratching in throat, and pain in throat, were significantly reduced over the course of the 7-day study period. In majority of the cases effectiveness was shown within 10 minutes of use. The tolerability was very good, with only 3 minor side effects for the syrup.

Reference: Fink C, Schmidt M, and Kraft K. Marshmallow Root Extract for the Treatment of Irritative Cough: Two Surveys on Users' View on Effectiveness and Tolerability. Complement Med Res. 2018;25(5):299-305.