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Evid Based Nurs 4:82 doi:10.1136/ebn.4.3.82
  • Treatment

Review: herbal preparations may improve FEV1 and symptoms in asthma


 
 QUESTION: For patients with asthma, do herbal preparations improve lung function and reduce symptoms?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline, the Cochrane Library, and EMBASE/Excerpta Medica from their inception to December 1999 with the terms asthma, herb with various endings, Ayurvedic, and traditional Chinese medicine as well as names of individual herbs. Bibliographies and personal reprint collections were scanned, and experts were contacted.

Study selection

Randomised controlled trials were included if they studied patients with asthma preferably defined using American Thoracic Society criteria, and if they reported outcomes of lung function tests, FEV1, or airway resistance.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on study characteristics and quality, treatment and control interventions, outcome measures, and results.

Main results

17 randomised controlled trials met the inclusion criteria. 6 studied Chinese herbal medicines, 8 studied Indian preparations, 1 evaluated a Japanese herbal preparation, 1 evaluated marijuana, and 1 evaluated dried ivy leaf extract. 14 of the trials scored ≤3 of a maximum of 5 on the …

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