Pelargonium sidoides (African geranium)

What is It?

Commonly known as geranium, Pelargonium sidoides is part of a genus of flowering plants first cultivated in South Africa. Geraniums, which bloom in a variety of shapes and colors, are typically grown for their beauty; and some fragrant species of Pelargonium are used to create perfumes. But the P. sidoides species also offers medicinal benefits. It has a long history in tribal South Africa as being used to treat coughs, upper respiratory infections and gastrointestinal illnesses. P. sidoides is often marketed as EPs 7630 or Umckaloabo, meaning “heavy cough” in Zulu tribal language.

Health benefits

The root extracts of Pelargonium sidoides and their constituents have antibacterial and immunomodulation properties that help fight infections, especially in the respiratory tract.

Unsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleic acid, found in the roots of P. sidoides have antimycobacterium actions, which can help prevent diseases like tuberculosis or leprosy.

Specifically, P. sidoides may help to:

Reduce cough, symptoms of acute bronchitis and treat upper respiratory infections such as strep throat. Several clinical studies of EPs 7630 have examined the efficacy and safety of P. Sidoides in the treatment of acute bronchitis, which occurs when a virus or bacteria inflames the bronchial tubes. Along with bronchitis comes a raw, hacking, painful cough. Acute bronchitis is conventionally treated with antibiotics, but scientific evidence is now focusing on treating bronchitis in early stages with EPs 7630 to avoid using antibiotic therapy. In a recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center study in Germany, 217 patients with acute bronchitis received either EPs 7630 or placebo three times a day for seven days to treat symptoms of acute bronchitis. Patients taking the EPs 7630 formula reported significant improvement in ease of breathing, cough, chest pain during cough, and mucous levels. The formula was determined to be an effective therapeutic option to treat acute bronchitis before antibiotics are required. The studies have determined taking EPs 7630 within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms will significantly reduce acute bronchitis symptoms in adults, children and infants. A 2003 study also comparing the effectiveness of P. sidoides extracts over placebo therapy in 468 adult patients with acute bronchitis found EPs 7630 clearly reduced symptoms and shortened the duration of working inability for nearly two days.

A 2005 study investigated the effect of EPs 7630 on group A-streptococci, bacteria that can causes skin and throat diseases such as strep throat. Scientists determined the P. sidoides extract reduces bacterial adhesion to the cells that form a protective layer in the throat, and it traps and renders inactive decaying cells in the mouth, thus protecting against infection and recurrent infections.

Previous clinical studies examining the constituents of EPs 7630 determined properties that fight against Staphylococcus, a bacterium that occurs in clusters in the skin and mucous membranes and can cause disease. This evidence, combined with further examination of the formula’s other constituents, indicated EPs 7630 is an effective treatment against respiratory tract infections.

Reduce sore throat and tonsillopharyngitis in children. The antibacterial properties of EPs 7630 also have been found to help ease symptoms of sore throat and tonsillopharyngitis – infection of the pharynx or tonsils, or both. In a 2003 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the Ukraine, 143 children ages 6 to 10 with tonsillopharyngitis received EPs 7630 or placebo for six days. Symptoms such as sore throat and difficulty breathing significantly improved after four days of treatment in children taking the P. sidoides extract. Consequently, the duration of the illness was shortened by at least two days.

Treat tuberculosis. In vitro studies have found the root extract EPs 7630 also is active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an infection that causes small rounded swellings (tubercles) to form on mucous membranes, especially in the lungs.

Forms

  • extract
  • tablet

Dosage Information

  • Orally: For acute bronchitis, 30 drops of a standardized extract three times a day (about 4.5 mL/day) of EPs 7630 for seven days.
  • Orally: For sore throats in children aged 6-10 years, 20 drops of a standardized extract three times a day (3 mL/day) for seven days.

Guidelines for Use

Follow the instructions on the label. Some geranium oils are used in aromatherapy, so the scent can be over-powering. But in general, it is not toxic and does not generally cause irritation.

General Interactions

There are no known supplement or food interactions associated with P. sidoides.

Possible Side Effects

There are no known side effects associated with P. sidoides.

Cautions

Clinical studies thus far have focused on short-term (up to seven days) doses of oral P. sidoides, which appear to be well-tolerated in adults and children. However, an adequate safety assessment has not been conducted on long-term use.

P. sidoides is not recommended during pregnancy or lactation.

Ailments

Bronchitis – 20-30 drops 3 times daily.  Use the lower dosage for children age 6-10

Colds – 20-30 drops 3 times daily.  Use the lower dosage for children age 6-10

Sore Throat – 20-30 drops 3 times daily.  Use the lower dosage for children age 6-10

For product recommendations and orders click here for the Natural Apothecary or call 773-296-6700, ext. 2001.

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3 comments on “Pelargonium sidoides (African geranium)
  1. betty says:

    I have copd and have both bronchitis and sinusitis often. Is this product in herb stores etc. Thanks

  2. Seanna Tully, Herbalist at WHC says:

    Yes, this product is available in our online store under the name Viraclear, it may be available in health food stores as well. It is best used during the time of infection to boost immune function and not as a preventative. Our preventative product is called Mycommunity.

  3. Jeannie James says:

    I purchased Source Naturals Wellness Breathe Free and cannot believe the difference I feel in just 3 days. Actually I felt a difference about 4 hours after the first dose. I have acute bronchitis following an 8 month ordeal of being exposed to a swamp cooler. Whole other nightmare!!! Cannot speak highly enough of this african geranium.

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