Table 3

Systematic reviews of clinical trials of herbal medicines (at least 2 reviews per herb)

Features

Author

Indication

Intervention

Comparisons

Studies

1/2/3/

Results

Author's Conclusion

Year

4/5


Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, angustifolia and pallida)

Barrett

upper resp.

echinacea

placebo

13RCT

y/p/y/

Overall quality modest. All 4

Echinacea may be beneficial for

99 [40]

infections

(incl.

y/n

prevention studies show only

early treatment of acute upper

combinations)

minor trends, 8 of 9 treatment

respiratory infections; little evidence

studies with generally positive

to support the prolonged use for

results

prevention

Melchart

common

echinacea

placebo, no

16 RCT

y/y/y/

Minor effects in prevention and

Echinacea extract can be efficacious

99 [41]

cold

(incl.

treatment

y/p

treatment, promising effects in

for the common cold, but evidence

combinations)

early treatment. Heterogen.

insufficient for recommendations

preparations

Melchart

immuno-

echinacea

placebo, no

18 RCT, 8

y/y/y/

Most studies low quality. Most

Echinacea extracts can be

94

stimulation

(incl.

treatment

CCT

y/n

studies show immunostimulating

efficacious immunostimulators, but

[42,43]

combinations)

effects

evidence insufficient for

recommendations

Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Jepson

urinary

cranberries

placebo

4 RCT

y/y/y/

In 3 of 4 trials cranberries effective

Insufficient evidence, further research

98 [44]

tract inf.

y/n

for at least one of the outcomes of

needed

(prevent)

interest

Jepson

urinary

cranberries

O RCT

y/y/-/

No trials meeting the inclusion

No evidence available

98 [45]

tract inf.

-/-

criteria

(treatm.)

Mistletoe (Viscum album)

Kleijnen

cancer

mistletoe

placebo, no

11

y/y/y/

Most studies low quality. Most

Insufficient evidence to recommend

94 [46]

treatment

RCT/CCT

n/n

studies show longer survival with

mistletoe outside of clinical trials

mistletoe but not the best trial

Kiene 89

cancer

mistletoe

no treatment,

2 RCT, 33

y/n/n/

Most studies low quality. 9 of 12

Available evidence supports positive

[47,48]

none

CCT, 11

y/n

interpretable studies suggest

effects of mistletoe

other

positive effects on survival

studies

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Jailwala

irritable

1. peppermint

placebo

1. 3 RCT

p/y/y/

Chinese herbal therapy trial rated

In both cases efficacy not clearly

2000*

bowel

oil

2. 1 RCT

n/n

as positive, one of three

established

[49]

syndr.

2. Chinese

peppermint oil trials rated as

herbal

positive

therapy

Pittler 98

irritable

peppermint

placebo,

8 RCT

y/y/y/

Global improvement rates

The role of peppermint oil for IBS

[50]

bowel

oil

other

y/y

significantly higher compared to

has not been established beyond

syndr.

treatment

placebo. Quality of trials doubtful

reasonable doubt

Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Boyle

ben.

Permixon®

placebo,

11 RCTs,

?/n/n/

peak urine flow 2.20 (95% Cl 1.20–

Despite some limitations strong

2000 [51]

prostate

(saw

other

2 UCS

y/y

3.20) ml/s increase over placebo;

evidence that the extract tested has

hyperplasia

palmetto)

treatment

significant decrease nocturia

beneficial effects

Wilt 2000

ben.

saw palmetto

placebo,

14 RCT

y/y/y/

Saw palmetto superior to placebo

Evidence suggests that saw

&98

prostate

other

(plac),

y/y

for nocturia, self rating, peak urine

palmetto improves urological

[52,53]

hyperplasia

treatment

5 RCT

flow; similar effects as finasteride

symptoms and flow measures.

(other)

Further studies needed


legend see table 1

Linde et al. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2001 1:5   doi:10.1186/1472-6882-1-5

Open Data