A complex homeopathic preparation for the symptomatic treatment of upper respiratory infections associated with the common cold: An observational study

Explore (NY). 2006 Mar;2(2):109-14. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2005.12.008.


Background: The use of complementary medicines is large and growing in both the United States and Europe.

Objective: To compare the effects of a complex homeopathic preparation (Engystol; Heel GmbH, Baden-Baden, Germany) with those of conventional therapies with antihistamines, antitussives, and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs on upper respiratory symptoms of the common cold in a setting closely related to everyday clinical practice.

Design: Nonrandomized, observational study over a treatment period of maximally two weeks.

Setting: Eighty-five general and homeopathic practices in Germany.

Participants: Three hundred ninety-seven patients with upper respiratory symptoms of the common cold.

Interventions: Engystol-based therapy or common over-the-counter treatments for the common cold. Patients receiving this homeopathic treatment were allowed other short-term medications, but long-term use of analgesics, antibiotics, and antiinflammatory agents was not permitted. Patients were allowed nonpharmacological therapies such as vitamins, thermotherapies, and others.

Main outcome measures: The effects of treatment were evaluated on the variables fatigue, sensation of illness, chill/tremor, aching joints, overall severity of illness, sum of all clinical variables, temperature, and time to symptomatic improvement.

Results: Both treatment regimens provided significant symptomatic relief, and this homeopathic treatment was noninferior in a noninferiority analysis. Significantly more patients (P < .05) using Engystol-based therapy reported improvement within 3 days (77.1% vs 61.7% for the control group). No adverse events were reported in any of the treatment groups.

Conclusion: This homeopathic treatment may be a useful component of an integrated symptomatic therapy for the common cold in patients and practitioners choosing an integrative approach to medical care.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apocynaceae*
  • Common Cold / drug therapy*
  • Common Cold / pathology
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Homeopathy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sulfur*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Drug Combinations
  • Plant Extracts
  • engystol-N
  • Sulfur