Upper respiratory tract concerns are historically among the leading reasons for visits to primary care for both children and adults.1,2 Duration of these concerns is often more problematic than severity.
Pelargonium sidoides is a potential solution to this challenge. A specific extract of Pelargonium sidoides has been studied to shorten the duration of upper respiratory tract irritations. Commonly known as African geranium, South African cultures have traditionally used the root extract and in the South African Zulu language it is referred to as Umckaloabo, which means “heavy cough.”3 Pelargonium sidoides root extract preparation contains the same properties.
Pelargonium sidoides Mechanisms of Action
Pelargonium sidoides engages multiple mechanisms of action in upper respiratory defense.4,5 It acts as a mucolytic agent by stimulating mucous secretion and clearance which is important for microbial balance in the upper respiratory system. Pelargonium sidoides extract contains primarily polyphenols (mainly catechin and gallocatechin), proteins, minerals, and, in lower concentrations, 7-hydroxycoumarin derivatives.6 These coumarin derivatives differ in chemical structure from the known anticoagulant coumarins and are not associated with anticoagulant activity.7 Pharmacological studies have suggested that the mechanism of action of Pelargonium sidoides is multifactorial.8 Studies have found that EPs 7630 may act as an immunomodulator, help support the body’s defense mechanisms, and possess antimicrobial actions in vitro. These actions are mediated mainly by the release of tumor-necrosis factor (TNF-a) and nitric oxide, stimulation of interferon-a synthesis, and increase of natural killer cell activity.9 Studies have also found that Pelargonium sidoides increases phagocytosis.10
In 2015 a prospective, open-label trial studied the tolerability and treatment effects of a tablet form of Pelargonium sidoides in 120 adults.5 The dose of Pelargonium sidoides was 20 mg three times per day for ten days. Effectiveness outcomes were measured by daily investigator observation (CCS) and daily self-rating by participants of CCS. By day ten 42% of patients reported expected outcomes and another 42% showed significant improvement. No serious adverse events were reported.
Pelargonium sidoides has been studied in more than 20 clinical trials with more than 9,000 subjects, including 3,900 children. With proven tolerability and effectiveness in adults and children, it is a viable solution to support the upper respiratory system.
Corey Schuler, RN, CNS, LN, DC and Amy Doyle, MS, CNS
Corey Schuler is the Director of Clinical Affairs for Integrative Therapeutics. He is a certified nutrition specialist, licensed nutritionist, and chiropractic physician board-certified in clinical nutrition. He has earned degrees in nursing and phytotherapeutics, and has a private integrative medicine practice in Hudson, Wisconsin.
Dr. Schuler is an adjunct assistant professor at the School of Applied Clinical Nutrition at New York Chiropractic College. He volunteers for the Board of Certification for Nutrition Specialists and is a member of Institute for Functional Medicine, American College of Nutrition, and American Nutrition Association. He has conducted dozens of national seminars, media, and podcast interviews including CBS-WCCO and other radio stations, Intelligent Medicine, Underground Wellness, Five to Thrive Live, Aging but Dangerous, Rebel Health Tribe, and countless online summit appearances. He is on the board of directors for the International Probiotics Association and an advisor to Functional Medicine University.
Amy Doyle is a board certified nutrition specialist and owner of White Stone Wellness. She graduated from the New York Chiropractic College with her Master’s degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition. She is a member of the American College of Nutrition and American Nutrition Association. She currently has a private practice at Willow Health and Wellness Center in Baldwinsville, NY. Amy helps people with gastrointestinal health, food sensitivities, and metabolic health. Her approach considers the effect of the body on the mind as well as the mind on the body. She is also passionate about the crusade for schools to feed our children healthy, whole foods and is an advocate for establishing community gardens in areas of need.