Review Of Herbal Products For Treating Common Cold

Zainol Akhbar Zainal

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Cyberjaya, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Objective
The use of herbal medicine in treating common colds is widespread but yet controversial. So far, there are at least more than 20 herbs have been identified to have potential beneficial effect in treating common cold. The aim of this review is to provide updated evidence regarding the use of these remedies. 

Introduction
Have you ever had symptoms of roughness or soreness of the throat, development of nasal discharge, sneezing, and irritation of the upper respiratory tract before? Well, most people in the world have and those are the classic symptoms of the common cold. The common cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract (URT) caused by approximately more than 200 different viruses. In 2004, the United States Census Bureau, International Data Base reported that approximately 1 billion of cold cases are reported each year, mostly affecting children. In Malaysia, the extrapolated incidence of the common cold in 2004 almost reaches 5.5 million cases.

The next question that has been around for hundreds of years is whether or not there is a cure. We have certainly come very far in treating the condition. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, as well as nutritional supplements and herbal medicines can alleviate symptoms and sometimes shorten the duration of infection. However, because colds and the flu are caused by viruses, they have no real cures. The role of herbal medicines in treating the common cold has been a massive topic discussed worldwide and the emerging use of these remedies with the evidence to support and against their uses will be discussed further in this review.

Objective
The use of herbal medicine in treating common colds is widespread but yet controversial. So far, there are at least more than 20 herbs have been identified to have potential beneficial effect in treating common cold. The aim of this review is to provide updated evidence regarding the use of these remedies.