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Pelargonium Profile - Pelargonium sidoides

by Wayne L. Handlos PhD

                     

While watching the noontime news the other day, I was surprised to see Pelargonium sidoides

as one of the featured plants in a segment on herbal products which stimulate

your immune system. I’m always a bit skeptical about what passes for “news” so I

thought I should investigate these claims a bit further. What a pleasant surprise!

Aside from the traditional use of this plant in its native South Africa for coughs, upper

respiratory tract irritations and gastrointestinal problems, there have actually been some

controlled experiments to determine the effectiveness of P. sidoides extracts on various

ailments. There is a German product called EPs 7630 or Umckaloabo which is an alcohol

extract from the roots of P. sidoides. (on left above.)

 

This extract was tested on children (6-10 years old) to determine its effectiveness in reducing

the symptoms of tonsillopharyngitis (sore throat!). The severity of symptoms

was reduced by a statistically significant amount and the duration of the illness was

shortened by two days (Bereznoy et al.)

 

Acute bronchitis has also been studied and a significant reduction in symptoms occurred

in those taking the German extract as compared to those getting a placebo. Patients

taking P. sidoides root extract returned to work two days earlier than those taking a

placebo. (Matthys et al.; Churcholin et al.)

 

While the mode of action is not fully known, it is thought that P. sidoides has both antibacterial

effects and modifies the body’s immune function. (Kayser et al.) The closely

related species, P. reniforme,(on right) has been used traditionally in South Africa for diarrhea

and dysentery in both animals and people. It has not been extensively studied yet.

© 2010, Central Coast Geranium Society (CCGS )