Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Review: herbal preparations may improve FEV1 and symptoms in asthma

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

OpenUrlAbstract/FREE Full Text

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. …

View Full Text


  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr E Ernst, Department of Complementary Medicine, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Studies, University of Exeter, Exeter EX2 4NT, UK. Fax +44 (0)1392 424989.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in ACP Journal Club.