Pelargonium Sidoides Reduces Bronchitis Symptoms

Pelargonium sidoides also known as Umckaloabo, is a herbal remedy thought to be effective in the therapy of acute respiratory infections. EPs 7630 is a specific extract from the roots of the P. sidoides. To examine the efficacy of therapy with EPs 7630 in patients with acute bronchitis, a multi-centre, prospective, open observational study was performed in 440 study sites located in Germany. Clinical studies have shown that EPs 7630, an aqueous ethanolic extract from the roots of umckaloabo, is an effective therapy for respiratory tract infections. (EPs 7630 is a registered trademark of  Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG, Karlsruhe, Germany).

Medicinal Effects

In vitro studies demonstrate that Pelargonium sidoides has antiviral, antibacterial, immunomodulatory effects. In 1972, German scientists discovered the chemical profile identity of the Pelargonium sidoides root. As research progressed, a specific extraction technique was developed and perfected to efficiency EPs 7630.  It was determined that 3-year-old rhizomes contain an optimum amount of active constituents. EPs 7630 has been shown to be safe and effective in the therapy of acute upper respiratory tract infections, including bronchitis, sinusitis, tonsillopharyngitis, and common cold. Medical researches have suggested that the mechanism of action of EPs 7630 is multifactorial including antiviral and antibacterial effects and noteworthy immune modulatory capabilities as well as cytoprotective activities. The efficacy of EPs 7630 in the therapy of acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) has been evaluated in over 3500 patients of placebo-controlled double-blind studies and in over 5500 patients of open-label and non-interventional studies. Out of the total of over 9000 participants, approximately 4000 were children and adolescents.

In a 2003 study from “Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine“, enrolled 143 children aged 6-10 years with a nondangerous form of strep throat. On average, the total duration of the illness was reduced by 2 days in the Pelargonium group as compared to the placebo group. Randomized controlled a clinical trial 103 patients with nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, sneezing, scratchy throat, headache, muscle aches, and fever were evaluated. After 10 days of therapy 78 percent of treated patients 32 percent of the placebo group had complete relaxation of symptoms. In Feb 2007, a study was reported that tested pelargonium sidoides in 217 participants with acute bronchitis. Subjects were given either placebo or P. sidoides extract at a dose of 30 drops daily. After 7 days of therapy, participants given the Pelargonium treatment demonstrated significantly better scores than those given placebo. Particularly, improvements were seen in cough, mucus, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

In a study 124 adults aged 18 years and over with a BSS (Bronchitis Severity Score) of greater than 5 points were randomized to Umckaloabo liquid or placebo. Participants who were administered Umckaloabo had a greater decreased in Bronchitis Severity Score than those on placebo. Scientists at the “University Hospital Freiburg” analyzed 406 patients throughout 7 day-long clinical trial. Three of the four groups received different doses of EPs 7630, 3 times daily. The last group received a placebo 3 times daily. The experts used a scoring method to evaluate the overall change in bronchitis symptoms and noted that all 3 EPs 7630 therapy groups saw a noteworthy reduce in symptoms compared to the placebo group. In a clinical study with 468 participant with bronchitis received 4.5 ml of the P. sidoides extract or a placebo for seven days. Important differences were found between the 2 group, with the umckaloabo extracts group reporting less severity of bronchitis symptoms. At the start of the study, 67 percent of the patients were unable to work. Just 16 percent of the umcka extract group was unable to work while 43 percent of the placebo group was still unable to work.

Licorice Could Help Treat Hepatitis

Glycyrrhizin is the main active component extracted from licorice roots, one of the most widely used herbal preparations for the cure of liver diseases. The reported useful activities of glycyrrhizin on liver tissue include; 1-stabilization of hepatic cellular membranes, 2-inhibition of production of PGE2, 3- augmentation of the effects of Interferon.

Licorice Root and Liver Health

In one study, participants who took a combination of licorice, silymarin (milk thistle), and different other herbs had improved measures of  liver enzymes and tests of liver function. The key therapeutic element of licorice root is glycyrrhizin, which is found in the rhizome. To treat hepatitis clinical trials in Japan have used a licorice root extract (glycyrrhizin) to treat hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and have showed that glycyrrhizin reduces liver illness. Glycyrrhizin may be beneficial as a therapy for chronic hepatitis, and a Japanese study found that patients with chronic hepatitis C who took this supplement had lower risk of liver cancer.  In Japan, glycyrrhizin, was found to be so successful in treating hepatitis that it was written up in at least three scientific journals.

A 1997 study showed that glycyrrhizin may help prevent the development of liver cancer in patients with chronic hepatitis C. In a 1998 review of several studies, scientists reported that therapy  with glycyrrhizin is effective in easing liver disease in some patients. In lab animals, licorice root water extracts can prevent liver damage that heavy metals had caused, according to a study reported in the June 2009 edition of the Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Licorice root may be able to protect liver from damage according to a study at “Seoul National University College of Pharmacology” that was reported in the Aug 2010 edition of Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. A study performed at the “Shanxi Medical College” in China found licorice reduced triglyceride accumulation in the liver, increased glycogen levels, inhibited the development of cirrhosis, and prevented the growth of experimentally-induced lesions in the liver.

Stronger Neo-Minophagen C

Glycyrrhizin has been used in Japan for a long while as a therapy for chronic hepatitis disease. A glycyrrhizin containing preparation (Stronger Neo-Minophagen C), consisting of 0.2 % glycyrrhizin, 0.1 % cysteine and 2.0 % glycine in physiological saline solution, is used intravenously in Japan for the therapy of hepatitis. A daily injection of glycyrrhizin (Stronger Neo-Minophagen C containing 40 mg glycyrrhizin in a 20 mL ampoule) reduces ALT levels in people with chronic viral hepatitis. In 1977, intravenous injection with Stronger Neo-Minophagen C  was started in patients with chronic hepatitis or liver cirrhosis, most of whom have turned out to be infected with hepatitis viruses. The researches performed in Europe have shown the effectiveness of  Stronger Neo-Minophagen C in improving abnormal hepatic function in people with chronic hepatitis C where interferon treatment does not work. The findings of the studies were presented at the American Association for the Study of  Liver Diseases conference in Nov 2007.

In a multicenter double-blind study, ALT levels decreased in the patients who received 40 ml/day of Stronger Neo-Minophagen C for four weeks at a rate significantly higher than controls receiving placebo. Shown to be efficient in preventing the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C individuals. In two clinical trials, Stronger Neo-Minophagen C has been shown to significantly lower alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) concentrations, while simultaneously ameliorating histologic evidence of necrosis and inflammatory lesions in the liver. In a clinical trial;  patients with chronic hepatitis received 40 ml per day of  Stronger Neo-Minophagen C for 4 weeks, while control group received placebo. The scientists discovered that liver cirrhosis occurred less frequently in 178 patients on long-term Stronger Neo-Minophagen C than in 100 controls; 28% versus 40%. Other than this, hepatocellular carcinoma developed less frequently in the 84 patients on long-term Stronger Neo-Minophagen C than in the 109 controls. Another study; 28 participants were randomized to receive either continued interferon-a alone or interferon in combination with Stronger Neo-Minophagen C for twelve more weeks. At the end of the study period, alanine transaminase (ALT) levels had normalized in 33% of participants treated with interferon monotherapy versus 64% of participants treated with a combination of interferon and Stronger Neo-Minophagen C. Furthermore, HCV RNA became undetectable in 13% of participants  treated with interferon monotherapy versus 39% of participants treated with a combination of interferon and Stronger Neo-Minophagen C.

Licorice as an Ulcer Therapy

Licorice ( Glycyrrhiza glabra), harvested, dried and cut, comes directly from the peeled root of the licorice plant, which is native to the Middle East. Licorice possesses demulcent, anti-ulcer, spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory effects. Licorice root that has the active ingredient of  glycyrrhiza can have important adverse effects. DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), doesn’t seem to have the same negative effects and is used to treat peptic ulcers, canker sores, and reflux. To be effective, DGL tablets must be chewed before swallowing.

Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice and Ulcer

DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice) is particularly used to promote the healing of ulcers and relieves ulcer-related symptoms. When taken in high amounts licorice (glycyrrhizin) produces effects parallel to those of the  hormone aldosterone, causing fluid retention, increased blood pressure, and loss of potassium. To avoid this, firms have found a way to remove glycyrrhizin from licorice, producing the safer product DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice). In more amounts, licorice root containing glycyrrhizin, has been shown to cause high blood pressure and side effects linked to heart problems.

This mechanism of action is much different from antacids and medications like Zantac, Tagamet, Prilosec and Prevacid which work by neutralizing or suppressing gastric acid. Use of DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice) addresses the underlying factors and promotes true healing by stimulating the normal defense mechanisms that prevent ulcer formation. Particularly, DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice) improves both the quality and quantity of the protective substances that line the intestinal tract. Licorice root contains flavonoids that help heal digestive tract cells. It supports stomach cells that produce mucin to protect the lining of the stomach. In test tubes, the flavonoids have been shown to kill H. pylori , the bacteria that causes most ulcers and stomach inflammation. The effect was  found to be concentration-dependent, indicating that the  flavonoids in DGL were the active factor in reducing the number of bacteria. There is a German E Commission (an official government agency similar to the FDA) Monograph for licorice that lists it use as beneficial for gastric ulcers.

UlcerDifferent studies in animals and humans have showed favorable effects from the use of DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice) in gastric and duodenal ulcer conditions. DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice) has been shown to reduce gastric bleeding caused by aspirin, therefore, it is strongly indicated for prevention of ulcers in patients requiring long term cure with ulcerogenic medications. One animal-based study found that aspirin coated with licorice root reduced the number of ulcers in rats by 50%. A human study showed that fecal blood loss induced by aspirin (375 mg 3 times daily) was significantly reduced with coadministration of deglycyrrhizinated licorice (175 mg/dose aspirin). Some studies have showed that DGL is as effective as ranitidine and cimetidine for both therapy and maintenance treatment of gastric ulcers. In a study  involving 100 gastric ulcer patients, half received the acid-blocking medication Tagamet (cimetidine) and half received a supplement of  DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice). Improvement was observed using an endoscope. In both groups 63%  of the patients had healed at 6 weeks and 91% had healed  at 12 weeks. After healing, dosages were reduced and a year later  just 14% of patients in both groups had had a recurrence. In other study, the  effect of  DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice) was compared  with that of antacids or cimetidine in 874 patients with confirmed chronic duodenal ulcers. 91% of all ulcers healed within twelve weeks; there was no important difference in the healing rate in the groups. Nevertheless, there were fewer relapses in the DGL group (8.2%) than in those receiving cimetidine (12.9%) or antacids (16.4%).

According to a study reported in the British Medical Journal comparing an over-the-counter drug for peptic ulcer disease and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) for 82 participant who had endoscopically healed peptic ulcer. Some researches demonstrated that licorice root -derived compounds can increase the concentration of prostaglandins in the digestive system that encourage mucous secretion from the stomach, as well as produce new cells in the stomach lining. In a study of deglycyrrhizinated licorice in gastric ulcer, 33 gastric ulcer patients were treated with either 760 mg, 3  times a day, or a placebo for 1 month.  There was a important greater decrease in ulcer size in the DGL group 78 percent, than in the placebo group 34 percent. Complete improvement occurred in 44 percent of those receiving deglycyrrhizinated licorice, however in only 6 percent of the placebo group. One preliminary study found that participants with canker sores who gargled 4 times per day with DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice) dissolved in warm water found pain relief. 20 patients with aphthous ulcers were advised DGL mouth wash and were followed for 2 weeks. 15 patients experienced 50-75% improvement within one day followed by complete healing of the ulcers by third day.


The standard dose to use of  DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice) is about one to three tablets of  DGL at a dosage of 380 mg per tablet. DGL has been shown to be about as effective as conventional medications in healing ulcers, however it is important that it is taken as a chewable tablet. DGL works best when chewed and swallowed twenty minutes before each meal, and before bedtime.

Can Schisandra Help Hepatitis?

The important constituents in schisandra are lignans (schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisins, and pregomisin) found in the seeds of the fruit. The chemicals in schisandra improve liver function by stimulating enzymes in the liver and promoting liver cell growth. Japanese researchers have shown that 2 Schizandra lignans (schizandrin and gomisine) have strong hepatoprotective properties. New Chinese research has been reported recently confirming that Schisandra lignanes possess antihepatotoxic activities, improve liver function and help prevent hepatitis.

Schisandra Chinensis and Liver

Like milk thistle, schizandra is a important herb for reducing liver inflammation, whether the cause is viral,  or chemical. Active ingredients including lignans, vitamins and phytonutrients in schisandra chinensis provide a normalizing effect on the body. Lignans are anti-inflammatory, and appear to protect the liver by activating the enzymes in liver cells that produce glutathione. In animal studies, it has been shown to provide important protection against chemical and medication induced liver damage and to promote healing of existing damage.

Schisandra extract reduce blood levels of an enzyme called SGPT (glutamic-pyruvic transaminase) in patients with hepatitis. Lab experiments show that schizandra extracts improve the liver’s ability to make the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which deactivates several kinds of toxic free radicals that attack the outer membranes of  liver cells. Animal-based studies suggest schisandra chinensis may protect the liver from toxic damage, improve liver function, and stimulate liver cell regrowth. Preservation from hepatotoxicity and improvements in phase I metabolism are documented in rats administered 1 ml/kg carbon tetrachloride 24 hours after exposure to schisandra chinensis extract. The results of a study in rats demonstrated that a lignan-enriched extract of schisandra protected against liver damage from either aflatoxin or cadmium chloride. Oral administration of  schisandra lignans (100 and 200 mg/kg/d, 14d) significantly reduced the number of metastatic colonies in liver of restrained mice.

In a study,  patients with chronic viral hepatitis were given 500 mg schisandra extract 3 times daily or liver extract and B vitamins. Among those given schisandra, SGPT levels declined to normal levels in 68% compared to 44% of the control group. In 1986, Chinese researchers reported more than 5000 cases of various types of hepatitis have been treated with schizandra  preparations, resulting in the reduction of elevated liver enzymes. Lignans have been found to lower blood levels of serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT), a marker for infective hepatitis and other liver disorders. According to researchers, elevated SGPT values returned to normal in 75 percent of patients treated after 20 days of taking an unspecified schizandra extract.

Use of Milk Thistle in Treating Hepatitis

Milk Thistle has been used to treat acute and chronic viral hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, and  toxin-induced liver diseases. The active complex of  Milk Thistle is a lipophilic extract from the seeds of the plant and is composed of 3 isomer flavonolignans (silybin, silydianin, silychristin) collectively known as silymarin. Silymarin may protect the liver against damage from toxic chemicals by blocking toxins from entering the cell or by moving toxins out of the cell before damage begins. The German Commission E (an official government agency similar to the US FDA) approved the use of silymarin as a treatment for toxic liver disease and a supportive treatment for chronic inflammatory liver illness and cirrhosis of the liver.

Milk Thistle Benefits and High Liver Enzymes

Milk Thistle  has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and it may help the liver repair itself by growing new cells. Silymarin 420 mg/day was shown to improve indices of liver function in patients with liver disease of various aetiology, including those exposed to toxic levels of toluene or xylene. In animals, silymarin reduces liver injury caused by acetaminophen, carbon tetrachloride, alcohol, phenylhydrazine, Amanita phalloides, radiation and iron overload. Lately it was showed that high-dosage silibinin infusion therapy could substantially decrease the number of hepatitis C viruses after 4-week application. Silymarin was also shown to reduce liver toxicity associated with chemotherapy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity.

In the 1970’s, two German research group proved through clinical studies that 70 percent of people suffering from chronic liver diseases had a vastly improved chance of recovery when given between 210 -420 milligrams of silymarin daily over periods ranging from 6 weeks to 2 years. In a study, reported in 1993, 10 participants with chronic hepatitis were assigned to the treatment group and 10 others were assigned to the placebo group. The treatment group received 240 milligrams of silybin, (a component of silymarin), 2 times a day for 1 week. The results of tests  demonstrated important improvement in the treatment group. A small study presented at the 2008 European “Association for the Study of the Liver conference” showed that silymarin might decrease levels of the hepatitis C virus in patients who didn’t respond to standard therapy.

LiverIn a study conducted in Iran, the scientists treated 55 patients with active and chronic cases of hepatitis C infections with 630 mg a day of silymarin for 24 weeks. After 24 weeks of therapy, the ALT liver enzyme levels decreased down from an average of 108 U/L to an average of 70, and AST levels decreased from an average of 99 U/L to an average of 60. Quality of life scores improved substantially and of the 55 patients treated, 9 had HCV-negative RNA levels after the therapy. In a 6-month double-blind study of 36 patients with chronic alcoholic liver illness, the group given silymarin (Legalon) showed normalization of their bilirubin, aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase serum levels. In different study, 106 patients with mild acute and subacute liver illness characterized by elevated serum transaminase levels were randomized to receive silymarin or placebo. Of the 97 patients who completed the 4-week study, there was a statistically considerable greater decrease in transaminase levels in the silymarin group.

A clinical trial of 16 patients who didn’t respond to ribavirin and interferon therapy, silymarin important reduced the viral load of hepatitis C.  In 7 of the patient the virus decreased to undetectable levels after 14 days of treatment. Silibinin, reduced hepatitis C virus levels in people awaiting liver transplantation in a pilot study, which may help reduce the risk of HCV recurrence in the new liver, Spanish scientists reported in the March 2013 “Journal of Hepatology“. In this study included 14 hepatitis C patients awaiting liver transplants. Within this group, 11 patient were randomly assigned to receive silibinin while 3 patient received placebo.Therapy was used for a maximum of 21 days prior to transplantation and 7 days after the procedure. Among patients who received therapy for more than 14 days pre-transplant, HCV viral load decreased substantially more in the silibinin group compared with the placebo group. During the post-transplant period, viral load levels were consistently and substantially lower in the silibinin group.

Some studies indicate silymarin slows the progression of cirrhosis. In one study, examined the effects of silymarin on 170 patients, 91 of them alcoholics with liver cirrhosis. Participants received 140 mg silymarin 3 times a day for 41 months. The four-year survival rate was 58% in the Milk Thistle group and 39 % in the placebo group. In a comment of previous clincial studies with human subjects, reported in the Forschung Komplementmedicine in 2008, the writers concluded that milk thistle is a positive option as a general supportive supplement for the liver and in treatment of cirrhosis.

Silymarin has been used to treat Amanita phalloides mushroom poisoning. In animal studies, Milk Thistle (silymarin) given within 10 minutes after amanita toxin ingestion completely counteracted the toxic effects, and if given within 24 hours of toxin ingestion silymarin prevented death and significantly reduced liver damage. In a group of 49 patients with Amanita phalloides poisoning, physicians rated the results “spectacular” and  “amazing” after patients were given injections (20 mg/kg daily) of silybin. All of the patients survived, even though they were treated 24 to 36 hours after poisoning, when liver damage had already occurred. The death rate in emergency rooms from Amanita phalloides mushroom poisoning is usually 30 to 40 %.

Liver-damage, can occur from a number of toxins, including alcohol and drugs such as acetaminophen. A 1998 study found that silymarin may protect the liver from toxicity from taking acetaminophen, phenothiazines and dilantin. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the world. Using acetaminophen with alcohol increases the likelihood of toxicity. Milk thistle (silymarin) enters the liver cells and prevents those cells from absorbing toxins. Silymarin may protect the liver from toxic chemicals and have been tested for their potential to make chemotherapy more effective or less toxic. There is one case report describing the use of milk thistle in a patient  with promyelocytic leukemia who required breaks in chemotherapy due to abnormal liver enzyme levels. During four months of therapy with milk thistle, the patient had normal liver enzyme levels and was able to undergo chemotherapy without breaks.