The coincidental timing of holiday air travel and flu season poses an increased health risk for patients. As your patients begin their travel plans for the holidays, two new studies on elderberry or a combination of Echinacea purpurea and elderberry may reduce the duration and severity of symptoms from colds and flu.
The randomized, double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial was conducted with 312 economy class passengers travelling from Australia to an overseas destination. Cold episodes, cold duration and symptoms were recorded in a daily diary and participants also completed surveys before, during and after travel.
“We found that most cold episodes occurred in the placebo group, but the difference between the placebo and active group was not significant. However, the placebo group had a significantly higher number of cold episode days, and the symptom score in the placebo group over these days was also significantly higher,” says Associate Professor Evelin Tiralongo.
The second study published in the Current Therapeutic Research recruited 473 patients with early influenza symptoms (≤48 hours) were recruited in primary care and randomized to either 5 days of oseltamivir followed by 5 days of placebo, or 10 days of an Echinacea purpurea-based formulation called Echinaforce Hotdrink (A. Vogel Bioforce AG, Roggwil, Switzerland).
The researchers concluded, “recovery from illness, possible advantages (lack of induction of drug resistance and complications), and the lower incidence of adverse events, treatment of influenza with Echinaforce Hot drink overall outperformed treatment with oseltamivir in the studied patient cohort. Further studies are warranted to show the extent to which our results are applicable to patients with concomitant diseases and at-risk populations, which were not studied here.”
Compiled for Dr. David Jensen by Larry Heinrichs