The Canadian Medical Association Journal is set to publish a landmark double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the prevention and relief of upper respiratory infections. The clinical trial was conducted on a patented extract of ginseng, sold as the natural anti-cold remedy COLD-fX. The trial results show the ginseng extract reduced the incidence and frequency of recurrent colds by more than half. It also cut the duration of colds and significantly reduced their severity.
The number of upper respiratory infections in each subject was significantly reduced by 25% in the ginseng extract group during the 4-month treatment period. Treatment with the ginseng extract also had a significant effect in reducing the total symptom score and the duration of infections. The trial was conducted by Dr Tapan Basu, a professor at the University of Alberta, and Dr Gerry Predy of Capital Health.
The study involved 323 adults from the general population (18-65 years of age) with a history of at least two upper respiratory infections in the previous year. Participants were given either COLD-fX or a placebo for four months during the winter of 2003/04. Subjects graded the severity and duration of their respiratory-related symptoms on a 4-point scale. All analysis was performed by a University of Western Ontario biostatistician under blinded conditions.
The authors of the study concluded that the ginseng extract appeared to be an attractive natural prophylactic treatment for upper respiratory infections.
“We are interested in the potential positive implications for our residents and the results from clinical trials done to date are encouraging,” said Dr Predy. “For example, in participants taking COLD-fX daily for prevention, recurrent infections were reduced by more than half. In addition, there was a 31% reduction in the severity of their symptoms.”
NPI Center, Oct 25, 2005