Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 253–259

A herbal formula for prevention of influenza-like syndrome: A double-blind randomized clinical trial

  • Lai-yi Wong (黄丽仪)
  • Ping-chung Leung (梁秉中)
  • Suet-yee Pang (彭雪仪)
  • King-fai Cheng (郑景辉)
  • Chun-kwok Wong (黄振国)
  • Wai-kei Lam (林伟基)
  • Kwok-pui Fung (冯国培)
  • Tak-fai Lau (刘德辉)
  • Yee-kit Tse (谢仪杰)
  • Chi-yui Kwok (郭志锐)
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11655-012-1269-6

Cite this article as:
Wong, L., Leung, P., Pang, S. et al. Chin. J. Integr. Med. (2013) 19: 253. doi:10.1007/s11655-012-1269-6

Abstract

Objective

To investigate the efficacy of a herbal formula in the prevention of influenza or influenza-like syndrome among elderies residing in old-people’s home in Hong Kong. The secondary objectives are to investigate the quality of life (QOL) and symptomology changes among the herbal users and to evaluate the safety of this formula.

Methods

In ten old people’s home or community centres in New Territories, Hong Kong, 740 eligible subjects agreed to join the study and were randomized to receive a herbal formula or a placebo on alternate days over 8 weeks. Among those 740 participants, 113 had provided blood samples for immunological assessments before and after the study drug. Assessments were done at 0, 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Participants were instructed to keep a daily record of body temperature and any symptoms as sore throat, myalgia, running nose or cough, and to report to assessor accordingly. Those reporting body temperature of 37.8 °C and above would be visited and a proper nasopharyngeal swab be taken for viral study.

Results

Seventy-two participants developed influenza-like-symptoms but none of them was proven influenza in their nasopharyngeal swabs, 40 of these patients belonged to the herbal group and 32 to the placebo group, without significant differences between groups. The difference on the changes in QOL between the two groups was not statistically significant. However, in the immunological study, the natural killer cell absolute count was significantly increased in the herbal group compared with the placebo group (463±253 vs 413±198, P<0.05).

Conclusions

The herbal preparation was not effective compared with placebo in the prevention of influenza-like syndrome. It was however safe and possibly supporting immunological responses.

Keywords

complementary medicineinfluenzaherbal treatment

Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lai-yi Wong (黄丽仪)
    • 1
  • Ping-chung Leung (梁秉中)
    • 2
  • Suet-yee Pang (彭雪仪)
    • 2
  • King-fai Cheng (郑景辉)
    • 2
  • Chun-kwok Wong (黄振国)
    • 3
  • Wai-kei Lam (林伟基)
    • 3
  • Kwok-pui Fung (冯国培)
    • 2
  • Tak-fai Lau (刘德辉)
    • 4
  • Yee-kit Tse (谢仪杰)
    • 4
  • Chi-yui Kwok (郭志锐)
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Public Health and Primary CareChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Institute of Chinese MedicineChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  3. 3.Department of Chemical PathologyChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  4. 4.Centre for Epidemiology and BiostatisticsChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  5. 5.Department of Medicine and TherapeuticsChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina