Treatment For Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis By Chinese Herbal Medicine: A Randomized Placebo Control Trial

Charlie C L Xue, BMed, PhD, Francis C K Thien, MBBS, MD, Jerry J S Zhang, BMed, PhD, Cliff Da Costa, BSc, PhD, Chun G. Li, BMed, PhD

Introduction

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (SAR) is a common condition that significantly affects quality of life. The prevalence rate of SAR varies between 1.4% to 39.7% of the popula- tion,2 with relatively higher rates in western countries including Australia (10%). Current western medical approaches for the management of SAR include drug therapy and immunotherapy. These therapies, however, are also associated with certain unwanted side effects, and in many cases, are unable to provide a complete relief of symptoms. Therefore, alternative therapies have been used in the treatment of SAR with a significant proportion of patients using Chinese herbal medicine.

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has a long history in treating SAR in China. Several Chinese studies have suggested the potential usefulness of CHM in the management of SAR.7-9 However, these studies are associated with certain methodological deficiencies, particularly in the lack of blinding and poor randomization, which may affect the validity of their findings.10 Thus, there is inadequate scientific evidence available to substantiate the clinical use of CHM for the treatment of SAR. Accordingly, this study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a Chinese herbal formulation for the management of SAR using a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial design.

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