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SALT LAKE CITY -- Cases of bronchitis may be on the rise as cough and cold season has reached its peak. But this year consumers and physicians have an effective alternative to current over-the-counter medications offering only symptomatic relief, as well as antibiotics, which are often over-prescribed for many cases of bronchitis.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study reported in The Journal of Family Practice, a proprietary medicine made from Pelargonium sidoides roots (available in the United States as UMCKAÂ® COLDCARE from Natures Way Products, Inc.), significantly shortened duration and reduced severity of non-chronic bronchitis.
468 patients were treated with either the natural medicine or placebo for seven days. At the end of treatment, patients given the natural medicine had a significantly greater improvement in symptoms (such as cough, congestion, hoarseness, headache and chest pain) versus placebo. More impressively, patients given the Pelargonium-based medicine were able to return to work two days sooner on average than those given placebo. And by day seven, only 16 percent of the pelargonium group had not returned to work compared to 43 percent of the placebo group.
The speed of recovery is impressive, observes Marianne Heger, MD, one of the investigators of the study. "Pelargonium sidoides does not simply mask symptoms like other cough, cold and bronchial remedies, but actually shortens the illness itself.
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. It is often characterized by a painful cough with thick, heavy mucus. Many people suffer a brief attack of non-chronic bronchitis when they have a severe cold, as both may be caused by the same viruses. Although viruses and not bacteria are the predominant cause of non-chronic bronchitis, some reports place the use of antibiotics in clinical practice as high as 70 percent. Overuse of antibiotics may lead to gastrointestinal disorders, allergic reactions and the development of resistant organisms. Regardless, a physicians diagnosis is strongly recommended when bronchitis is suspected.
In other research, UMCKAÂ® COLDCARE has been clinically shown to reduce severity and shorten duration of the common cold, including a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center study involving 93 patients presented in January at the First International Conference on Natural Products and Molecular Therapy in Cape Town, South Africa, where the unique medicinal plant originates.
Although new to the United States, Pelargonium sidoides is one of the most widely prescribed cough, cold and upper respiratory therapies in Germany, and is quickly gaining acceptance throughout Europe. For years, German doctors have been prescribing Pelargonium sidoides as a first-line treatment for sinus, throat and bronchial illnesses rather than immediately resorting to antibiotics, says Heger.
About Pelargonium sidoides:
Medicinal use of the roots originates with the native Zulu cultures of South Africa, where they were administered in traditional preparations for upper respiratory illnesses. Centuries ago, European settlers to the area became aware of their medicinal properties. But not until recent years have modern scientists investigated and clinically validated their efficacy.
Source: Nature's Way Products, Inc.