Pelargonium sidoides is a medicinal plant native to South Africa. Its common names include Umckaloabo and South African Geranium. Root extract of Pelargonium sidoides is used as cold and flu medicine under various brand names including Kaloba, Umcka and Zucol.
A 2008 systematic review of these findings by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that extracts of the plant might be effective in treating adults for acute rhinosinusitis and the common cold in adults, but they noted that this conclusion is not certain. They also wrote that it might be effective in relieving the symptoms of acute bronchitis in adults and children, and also the symptoms of sinusitis in adults.
A 2013 update summary of the Cochrane Collaboration however states they "considered the quality of the evidence low or very low for all major outcomes as there were few studies per disease entity, and all were from the same investigator (the manufacturer) and performed in the same region (Ukraine and Russia). Thus, in summary, there is limited evidence for the effectiveness of P. sidoides in the treatment of ARIs."
It has been shown to be antimycobacterial with significant antibacterial properties against multi-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains. Gallic acid and its methyl ester present in large amounts in P. sidoides and in its active extracts, were identified as the prominent immunomodulatory principle.
The Pelargonium sidoides extract EPs 7630 is an approved drug for the treatment of acute bronchitis in Germany. Determination of virus-induced cytopathogenic effects and virus titres revealed that EPs 7630 at concentrations up to 100 μg/ml interfered with replication of seasonal influenza A virus strains (H1N1, H3N2), respiratory syncytial virus, human coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, and coxsackie virus but did not affect replication of highly pathogenic avian influenza A virus (H5N1), adenovirus, or rhinovirus.
"Pelargonium sidoides extract modulates the production of secretory immunoglobulin A in saliva, both interleukin-15 and interleukin-6 in serum, and interleukin-15 in the nasal mucosa. Secretory immunoglobulin A levels were increased, while levels of IL-15 and IL-6 were decreased. Based on this evidence, we suggest that this herbal medicine can exert a strong modulating influence on the immune response associated with the upper airway mucosa."
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 200 patients concluded "EPs 7630 was shown to be efficacious and safe in the treatment of acute bronchitis in children and adolescents outside the strict indication for antibiotics with patients treated with EPs 7630 perceiving a more favorable course of the disease and a good tolerability as compared with placebo."
- Aqueous ethanolic extract of the roots of Pelargonium sidoides - New scientific evidence for an old anti-infective phytopharmaceutical Kolodziej H. Planta Medica 2008 74:6 (661-666)
- Matthys H, Eisebitt R, Seith B, Heger M (2003). "Efficacy and safety of an extract of Pelargonium sidoides (EPs 7630) in adults with acute bronchitis. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial". Phytomedicine. 10 Suppl 4: 7–17. PMID 12807337.
- Chuchalin AG, Berman B, Lehmacher W (Nov 2005). "Treatment of acute bronchitis in adults with a pelargonium sidoides preparation (EPs 7630): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial". EXPLORE: the Journal of Science and Healing 1 (6): 437–445. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2005.08.009. PMID 16781588.
- Bereznoy VV, Riley DS, Wassmer G, Heger M (2003). "Efficacy of extract of Pelargonium sidoides in children with acute non-group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus tonsillopharyngitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial". Alternative therapies in health and medicine 9 (5): 68–79. PMID 14526713.
- Lizogub VG, Riley DS, Heger M (2007). "Efficacy of a pelargonium sidoides preparation in patients with the common cold: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial". EXPLORE: the Journal of Science and Healing 3 (6): 573–584. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2007.09.004. PMID 18005909.
- Timmer A, Günther J, Rücker G, Motschall E, Antes G, Kern WV (2008). "Pelargonium sidoides extract for acute respiratory tract infections". In Timmer, Antje. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3): CD006323. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006323.pub2. PMID 18646148.
- Pelargonium sidoides for acute bronchitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis Taofikat B. Agbabiaka, a, , Ruoling Guoa and Edzard Ernsta aComplementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Phytomedicine Volume 15, Issue 5, 15 May 2008, Pages 378-385
- http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD006323/pelargonium-sidoides-umckaloabo-a-herbal-remedy-for-treating-acute-respiratory-tract-infections cochrane 2013.
- Pharmacological profile of extracts of Pelargonium sidoides and their constituents Kolodziej H., Kayser O., Radtke O.A., Kiderlen A.F., Koch E. Phytomedicine 2003 10:SUPPL. 4 (18-24)
- Immunomodulatory principles of Pelargonium sidoides Krone D., Mannel M., Pauli E., Hummel T. Phytotherapy Research 2001 15:2 (122-126)
- Investigation of the influence of EPs 7630, a herbal drug preparation from Pelargonium sidoides, on replication of a broad panel of respiratory viruses Michaelis M., Doerr H.W., Cinatl Jr. J. [Article in Press] Phytomedicine 2010
- Immune responses induced by Pelargonium sidoides extract in serum and nasal mucosa of athletes after exhaustive exercise: Modulation of secretory IgA, IL-6 and IL-15 Luna Jr. L.A., Bachi A.L.L., Novaes e Brito R.R., Eid R.G., Suguri V.M., Oliveira P.W., Gregorio L.C., Vaisberg M. [Article in Press] Phytomedicine 2010
- Efficacy and tolerability of EPs 7630 in children and adolescents with acute bronchitis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter trial with a herbal drug preparation from Pelargonium sidoides roots Kamin W., Maydannik V., Malek F.A., Kieser M. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2010 48:3 (184-191)