Throat relief: Botanical lozenges ‘good alternatives' to antibiotics for treating pharyngitis - RCT

By Audrey Yow

- Last updated on GMT

Botanical lozenges made from several medicinal plant extracts were found effective in treating pharyngitis in an RCT © Getty Images
Botanical lozenges made from several medicinal plant extracts were found effective in treating pharyngitis in an RCT © Getty Images

Related tags botanicals botanical extracts Inflammation

Botanical lozenges are effective in treating chronic pharyngitis, making it a good alternative to antibiotic treatment, which can cause side effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea, hypertension and weight gain, according to a new trial.

Researchers in China conducted a randomised controlled trial on 103 patients with chronic pharyngitis. They found that botanical lozenges made from several medicinal plant extracts were effective in treating the patients.

“Botanical lozenges not only aided patients in recovering from chronic pharyngitis but also improved their positive perceptions of the disease, which helped them adhere to their treatment regimen,” ​wrote the researchers in Frontiers in Pharmacology​.

Chronic pharyngitis is a persistent inflammation of the upper respiratory tract involving the pharyngeal mucosa, submucosa, and lymphoid tissues. The clinical manifestations are mainly dry throat, sore throat, dry cough, or pharyngeal foreign body sensation.

Currently, oral antibiotics are the first line of treatment for pharyngitis. When antibiotics are ineffective, oral or inhaled hormone preparations are added to treat pharyngitis. However, this approach has some disadvantages like high recurrence rate and poor tolerance. Additionally, prolonged use of antibiotics can cause side effects such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, rash, and drug resistance. Finally, long-term use of hormone preparations can lead to weight gain, hypertension, and osteoporosis.

Studies have found that some medicinal plants are effective in treating pharyngitis. Therefore, the researchers aimed to evaluate the efficacy of the botanical lozenge made from several medicinal plant extracts in the treatment of chronic pharyngitis and its effects on patients’ illness perception and adherence to treatment.

For this trial, participants were adult patients from 18 to 65 years old with persistent pharyngitis of more than three months. They were randomly assigned to two groups: 52 in the experimental group and 51 in the control group.

Patients were given either botanical lozenges or placebos thrice daily for 15 days. The lozenges and the placebo looked the same and were provided by Suzhou Langbang Nutrition Company.

The botanical lozenges were prepared from extracts of medicinal plants such as Siraitia grosvenorii ​(monk fruit), Lonicera japonica​ (Japanese honeysuckle), Platycodon grandiflorus​ (balloon flower), and Glycyrrhiza uralensis​ (Chinese licorice). The placebos were made of starch.

Patients in both groups also received health education from the research team, including disease-related knowledge, medication care, and dietary care.

The improvement of pharyngeal symptoms and signs, illness perception, and adherence to treatment were evaluated at the end of the trial.

“The botanical lozenge was significantly better than the placebo in improving pharyngeal symptoms and signs,”​ observed the researchers.

The improvement rates of pharyngeal itching, dry throat, pharyngeal foreign body sensation, aggravation due to excessive speaking, and congestion of pharyngeal mucosa in the experimental group were 73.81%, 67.50%, 67.57%, 65.22% and 44%, respectively, which were significantly higher than those in the control group.

“In addition, patients taking botanical lozenges had better illness perception and adherence to treatment than those taking placebos. Patients with low adherence to treatment showed less personal control, concerns, and understanding of chronic pharyngitis,”​ said the researchers.

However, patients in both groups were observed to have a moderate to high level of concern for the disease and understanding of the disease, so they inferred that their health education improved patients’ understanding of the disease and affected their health behaviours, which helped to ease pharyngeal discomfort in both groups.

Based on the results, the researchers concluded that this study showed the therapeutic and health-promoting effects of the novel extracts of medicinal plants and health education on chronic pharyngitis.

“The botanical lozenge prepared from the extracts of medicinal plants was effective in relieving the pharyngeal symptoms and signs of CP. The combination of these medicinal plants and health education not only improved patients’ positive illness perception but also helped them adhere to treatment regimens,”​ said the researchers.

Source: Frontiers in Pharmacology

DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2024.1162883

“Efficacy of botanical lozenges in the treatment of chronic pharyngitis: a randomized controlled trial”

Authors: Yi Wu, Feng Zhang et al​.

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