Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2012 Contents 304 Australian Pharmacist April 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
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The articles in this series are independently researched and compiled by PSA commissioned authors and peer reviewed.
THE COMPLEMENTARY APPROACH
bad taste and nausea, may limit its
application.22 Further studies are required
to confirm optimal dosing regimens,
however nutritional supplementation is
likely to be most effective where dietary
intake is inadequate to meet the demands
of the individual. Thus identifying
individuals at risk of zinc insufficiency
may assist in determining those who will
benefit most from supplementation. In
practice zinc taste testing is sometimes
utilised, however nutritionally trained
practitioners will generally conduct a
dietary assessment and investigate clinical
signs and symptoms of deficiency to
determine zinc status.
Treatment for coughs
Cough-relieving medicinal herbs have been
used since ancient times. Many contain
mucilage which creates a physical barrier,
or other active substances that promote
mucus secretion. The mucilage or mucus
covers the oral and throat mucosa to reduce
irritability and relieve a dry cough. Examples
include marshmallow root, licorice root,
Iceland moss and lime flowers.6
A dry extract of Hedera helix (ivy leaf ),
commercially available as Prospan, has
been deemed to be very well tolerated
by patients and practitioners alike.23
Ivy leaf extract has also been tested in
combination with thyme, aniseed and
marshmallow root and found to reduce the
symptoms of irritating cough.4
Compared to no treatment, honey has
been reported to reduce the frequency
of cough, bothersome cough and
associated sleep deficits in children
but does not appear to affect the
severity of cough. Effects were not
significantly different to the cough
Demonstrating clear benefits for the use of
various therapies in preventing and treating
the common cold is often compromised
by methodological difficulties. Lack of
standardisation of CAM therapies can
further contribute to inconclusive or
contradictory findings. Nevertheless there
is some evidence that the aerial parts of
Echinacea pupurea may be beneficial in
treating the common cold in adults when
initiated soon after the onset of symptoms.
A single trial suggests benefits from garlic
in preventing the incidence and reducing
the duration of cold symptoms when
given prophylactically in high doses for 12
weeks. There is also some data to suggest
that extracts of the root of North American
ginseng when given preventively for
8--16 weeks may reduce the incidence,
duration and severity of the common cold.
Remedies such as honey and various herbal
combinations have also demonstrated
potential benefits for symptoms of cough
that are often associated with the common
cold. All of these therapies require further
investigation to confirm effects and
Key learning points
· While the aerial parts of Echinacea
purpurea may prove beneficial for
the treatment of colds, these results
cannot necessarily be generalised to
other species or parts of the plant and
further research is required.
· Prophylactic use of garlic or North
American ginseng may reduce the
likelihood of contracting the common
cold, or may reduce the duration or
likelihood of multiple colds.
· Simple remedies such as honey
may be a useful starting point for
uncomplicated coughs associated with
the common cold.
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common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007, Issue 1. Art.
4. Buechi S, Vogelin R, von Eiff MM, et al. Open trial to assess aspects
of safety and efficacy of a combined herbal cough syrup with
ivy and thyme. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd.
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double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical dose-response
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treatment of patients with common cold. Phytomedicine. 2005;
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of induced rhinovirus colds: a meta-analysis. Clin Ther. 2006;
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common cold: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Fam Med.
11. Braun L, Cohen M. Echinacea. Herbs & natural supplements: an
evidence based guide (3rd edn). Australia: Elsevier; 2010. pp.
12. Linde K, Barrett B, Wolkart K, et al. Echinacea for preventing and
treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006,
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common cold: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2010;
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an illustrative overview of how information from different
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the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-
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16. Zhang AL, Story DF, Lin V, et al. A population survey on the use of
24 common medicinal herbs in Australia. Pharmacoepidemiol
Drug Saf. 2008; 17(10):1006--13.
17. Lissiman E, Bhasale AL, Cohen M. Garlic for the common cold.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD006206.
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supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv
Ther. 2001; 18(4):189--93.
19. Braun L, Cohen M. Garlic. Herbs & natural supplements: an
evidence based guide (3rd edn). Australia: Elsevier; 2010. pp.
20. Seida JK, Durec T, Kuhle S. North American (Panax quinquefolius)
and Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng) Preparations for Prevention
of the Common Cold in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review.
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21. Predy GN, Goel V, Lovlin R, et al. Efficacy of an extract of North
American ginseng containing poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-
saccharides for preventing upper respiratory tract infections: a
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22. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database
Syst Rev 2011, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD001364.
23. Stauss-Grabo M, Atiye S, Warnke A, et al. Observational study
on the tolerability and safety of film-coated tablets containing
ivy extract (Prospan(R) Cough Tablets) in the treatment of colds
accompanied by coughing. Phytomedicine. 2011; 18(6):433--6.
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dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough
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