A South African herb known as Pelargonium sidoides (Umckaloabo) which has been used and approved for the treatment of respiratory conditions like bronchitis has been studied for its antiviral effects with excellent results. The research published in the journal Antiviral Research showed that Umckaloabo is a promising, antiviral natural medicine even against some drug-resistant strains of flu virus. The study, conducted by the Institute of Immunology at the Center of Public Health Research at National Laboratory of Health, Luxembourg, tested the herb’s antiviral effects both in the laboratory tests and on live subjects.
The study found that Pelargonium sidoides was effective against pandemic H1N1, oseltamivir-sensitive and -resistant seasonal H1N1, seasonal H3N2 and the laboratory H1N1 strain A/Puerto Rico/8/34. While Pelargonium sidoides has not been heavily researched, this study suggests its promising anti-influenza effects could make this herb the remedy of choice for flu. Animals studied also had improved body weight, reduced fever, and improved survival rates from influenza.
The herbal extract appeared to work by inhibiting an early step in the influenza infection process while also impairing the virus’ normal activity required for virus survival, rather than directly attacking the virus. In other words, it worked against the flu viruses by impairing the viruses’ life cycle.
Pelargonium sidoides is a plant in the geranium family which has a lengthy history of use in South Africa in the treatment of infectious respiratory diseases and diarrhea. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in addition to antiviral effects, the herb also demonstrates anti-bacterial and immune-balancing effects. Medicinal extracts are made from the root of the plant.
The above study results were achieved using a product known as EPs® 7630; however there are other brands of Umckaloabo that should produce similar results. Some products used the shortened name of “Umcka.” The study authors concluded that their results “demonstrate(ed) the benefit of EPs® 7630 in the treatment of influenza.”
Additional research in the medical journal Phytomedicine showed that the herb was superior in efficacy compared to placebo in the treatment of adults with acute bronchitis. Treatment with EPs 7630 clearly reduced the severity of bronchitis symptoms and shortened the inability to work by approximately two days on average.
The study dose is 30 drops of EPs 7630 three times daily. Follow package directions for the product you choose. Consult your physician prior to use.
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