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South African Geranium Extract Hastens Recovery From the Common Cold

En Español (Spanish Version)

Are you looking for a cure for the common cold ? Sneezing, running nose, sore throat , and body aches are symptoms of the common cold. Symptoms usually last 7-10 days. Your grandmother probably recommends chicken soup, but if that fails, you may want to try an herbal remedy extracted from the South African geranium, Pelargonium sidoides . In a recent study published in the journal Explore , patients taking Pelargonium sidoides experienced symptom relief sooner than those taking a placebo.

About the Study

Researchers studied the effects of Pelargonium sidoides compared to placebo in 103 patients with symptoms of the common cold. Patients were aged 18-55 and lived in the Ukraine. They received Pelargonium sidoides 30 drops three times daily for 10 days. Cold severity was rated on a scale of 0-4 points on 10 symptoms for a total possible score of 40 points. The average score at the beginning of the study was 17 points.

After five days of treatment, the patients taking Pelargonium sidoides reported a drop in symptoms to an average score of 7, while the placebo group reported a score of 11. The average person taking Pelargonium sidoides reported a 10-point reduction in their symptoms. After 10 days of treatment 64% of the patients taking Pelargonium sidoides reported no symptoms, whereas only 12% in the placebo group reported feeling cured. There was also a significant reduction in work days lost in the group taking Pelargonium sidoides .

How Does This Affect You?

When you are down and out with the common cold, there is not much your physician can do for you. It is important that you rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take medication to lower a fever. Now you may be able to reduce the suffering by a couple days.

The herbal preparation of Pelargonium sidoides available in the United States can be purchased at most pharmacies or health food stores. Since it is not a prescription medication, the formulation is not as regulated as pharmaceuticals. Always check with your pharmacist and healthcare provider about possible interactions with any other medications, especially Coumadin (warfarin), you are taking.




  • Lizogub VG, Riley DS, Heger M. Efficacy of a pelargonium sidoides preparation in patients with the common cold: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Explore . 2007 Nov-Dec;3(6):573-84.

Last reviewed December 2007 by Larissa Lucas, MD

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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

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