Evidence lacking on Chinese medicinal herb treatment for the common cold

Clinical question: 
Should I encourage my patients to use Chinese medicinal herbs for the common cold?
Bottom line: 
Chinese medicinal herbs may shorten the symptomatic phase in patients with the common cold. However, the lack of high quality clinical trials means Chinese herbal preparations cannot be recommended for the common cold.
Caveat: 
Although many Chinese herbal medicines are used to treat the common cold in China, well-designed randomised controlled trials are needed to assess their effectiveness and safety.
Context: 
The common cold is the most widespread acute respiratory tract illness affecting all groups worldwide. Asian people comprise 9 per cent of the New Zealand population, and many may use or ask their GPs about using Chinese medicinal herbs.
Review CD#: 
CD004782
PEARLS No: 
12
Date: 
July, 2007
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy
File: