Reducing severity and duration of colds

Flugon (Pelargonium sidoides extract) has anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.

Flugon is indicated for the relief of upper respiratory tract conditions, accompanied by coughing and chronic inflammatory bronchial symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections (e.g. bronchitis, cough, sore throat, tonsillitis, sinusitis, colds and flu).

Pelargonium sidoides is widely used as a traditional medicine for various ailments, including TB, cough, and gonorrhoea (Brendler and van Wyk, 2008; Colling et al., 2010). Powdered plant materials soaked in water are used as a facial cream in the treatment of pimples (Lewu et al., 2007). These applications indicate antimicrobial activity of constituents found in these plant extracts.

PHARMACODYNAMIC PROPERTIES

The antibacterial activity of extracts and isolated constituents of Pelargonium sidoides was evaluated by Kayser and Kolodziej (1997) against three gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus 1451) and five gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Haemophilus influenzae). Minimum inhibitory concentrations varied between 200-1 000μg/ml depending on the extracts and microorganisms tested indicated weak antibacterial activity.

Further investigations by Lewu et al. (2006) confirmed these findings.

The demonstrated weak antibacterial activity in comparison with the activities of antibiotics cannot adequately explain the documented clinical efficacy of Pelargonium-containing herbal medicines in the treatment of respiratory tract infections.

Hansmann (2005) also investigated the influence of a Pelargonium root extract on the function of human phagocytes. Candida albicans was used as the target organism. Significant stimulated phagocytosis and oxidative burst were observed while intracellular killing was hardly influenced.

The current data provide convincing support for the improvement of immune functions at various levels, hence, validating the medicinal uses of the Pelargonium root extract (Kolodzieja and Kiderlenb, 2007).

Mickenhagen et al. (2004) and Neugebauer et al. (2005) investigated the influence of Pelargonium root extract on the stimulation of ciliary beat frequency (an important defence mechanism of the mucociliary system) in ciliated cell cultures of human nasal epithelium in vitro. Three concentrations of the extracts were tested, which significantly increased ciliary beat frequency in a dose-dependent manner.

CLINICAL STUDIES

Agbabiaka and Ernst, 2008, reported that findings of randomised clinical trials confirmed the effectiveness of Pelargonium sidoides in treating acute bronchitis. Meta-analysis of four placebo-controlled trials suggested that root extracts significantly reduced bronchitis symptom scores in patients with acute bronchitis by day 7. No serious adverse events were reported.

Lizogub et al., (2007) performed a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial which showed that a liquid preparation from the roots of Pelargonium sidoides represented an effective treatment for the common cold. It significantly reduces the severity of symptoms and shortens the duration of the common cold compared with placebo.

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