Combination of Echinacea and Sage for Treating Acute Sore Throat.
Acute pharyngitis is inflammation of the throat or pharynx and the majority of cases are caused by viral infections and may be accompanied with a cough or fever. The remainder of the other cases is caused by bacterial infections, fungal infections, or irritants such as pollutants or chemical substances. Treatment can be divided into 2 categories: symptomatic and remedial. Symptomatic treatments attempt to reduce pain and discomfort. Remedial treatments attempt to cure pharyngitis or prevent long term complications such as rheumatic fever.
Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils and will often cause a sore throat and fever. The three main types of tonsillitis are acute, subacute and chronic and are caused by bacteria or a virus. Tonsillitis is treated with pain medications, lozenges and antibiotics such as penicillin (most commonly prescribed medication). Patients allergic to penicillin are given either erythromycin or clarithromycin.
Echinacea's stimulatory effects on the immune system have made it one of the most popular herbs in the world. Its ability to enhance the body's natural defenses has applications in fighting common colds, influenza and other infections. Echinacea has also been used externally on wounds and is reported to have antibacterial and antifungal activity.
Sage has been widely used medicinally for centuries. The name comes from the Latin word, salvare, which means "to heal." Sage is native to the Mediterranean region but is now cultivated around the world. The Romans considered sage a sacred herb that was harvested with solemn ceremony. Traditionally, sage has been considered to have antispasmodic, antiseptic, astringent, diaphoretic, and expectorant properties. The plant has also been used as a folk remedy to protect against colds, diarrhea, ulcers, fevers, indigestion, enteritis, venereal disease, excessive perspiration, snake bites, and sore throats. This herb is also known as common sage, garden sage, and kitchen sage - not to be confused with clary sage.
The aim of a recent clinical trial was to assess the efficacy of a sage and echinacea spray in the treatment of acute sore throats. The multicenter, double-blind controlled study included 154 patients who were aged between 12 and 75 years with acute pharyngitis or tonsillitis with throat pain and inflammation of the pharynx and/or tonsils and onset of the sore throat less than 72 hours prior to the start of the treatment protocol. The participants used either a sage/echinacea spray or a chlorhexidine/lidocaine spray with two puffs every two hours, up to 10 times per day until they were symptom-free, for a maximum of 5 days. A response to treatment was defined as a decrease of at least 50 percent of symptoms compared to baseline. The results revealed that the sage/echinacea treatment was similar in efficacy to the chlorhexidine/lidocaine treatment in reducing sore throat symptoms during the first three days. Both treatments were well tolerated by the patients and since no differences in effectiveness were seen sage/echinacea spray can be recommended for the treatment of acute sore throats.1
1 Schapowal A, Berger D, Klein P, Suter A. Echinacea/Sage or Chlorhexidine/Lidocaine for Treating Acute Sore Throats: A Randomized Double-blind Trial. Eur J Med Res. Sep2009;14(9):406-12.