Cough: evidence of herbal extracts

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Herbal medicine helps in the treatment of cough

Respiratory infections are the most common reason for sick leave in Germany. According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), colds in winter lead to more than 1.5 million additional episodes of incapacity to work, but coughing also takes place in the most beautiful weather. Plant medicine offers well-tolerated aids, especially for coughs, the evidence of which has since been recognized in the guidelines of scientific committees.

The German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP) has included two plant combinations in its therapy recommendations, which are mentioned in the guideline on "Diagnostics and therapy of adult patients with acute and chronic cough". She classified the effectiveness of an extract from thyme herb and ivy leaves and an extract from thyme herb and primrose roots as scientifically proven.

As justification, the authors of the guideline refer to the fact that the cause of an acute cold cough is almost always a virus. Antibiotic therapy - which is known to only work against bacteria - is therefore only indicated in exceptional cases. The herbal supplements, however, have been shown to relieve cough faster than placebo. Lung and respiratory specialists list extracts from anise, myrtle, peppermint, eucalyptus, thyme, ivy leaves and primrose roots as expectorants. Extracts from thyme, ribwort, drosera and woolen flowers have cough suppressant properties.

However, not all preparations containing such plants meet the required scientific quality criteria. The guidelines of the society therefore expressly state: "Results of extensive studies with phytopharmaceuticals do not apply to the plant (s) examined, but only to the tested preparation, since the methods of extraction, standardization and production have a decisive influence have the effectiveness ”.

Herbal cough suppressants are also particularly suitable in the treatment of children. Children are still prescribed by prescription and are exempt from co-payment until the age of 12. (pm)

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Picture: Dr. Klaus-Uwe Gerhardt /

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Video: Honey Onion Cough Syrup, with Rosemary Gladstar

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