An in vivo study examining the antiinflammatory effects of chamomile, meadowsweet, and willow bark in a novel functional beverage

J Diet Suppl. 2013 Dec;10(4):370-80. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2013.830680.


The antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties of polyphenols are well documented in vitro but there are few human studies. A herbal beverage composed of chamomile, meadowsweet, and willow bark (CMW) was developed and tested for its antiinflammatory effect in a cohort of healthy adults (n = 20) during a 4-week intervention. Subjects were randomised to either the treatment (TG) or placebo group (PG). The three herbs under study, which have been used in traditional and alternative medicine, were delivered in a berry extract matrix. This berry extract was used as a control in the experiment. The objective was to assess the herbs' effects on systemic inflammation and joint function by examining circulating cytokines and mechanical joint flexibility. Blood serum was analyzed for cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and TNFα. There was an average decrease of 21.7% IL-1β in the treatment group, whereas the decrease seen in the placebo group was 3% but these were not statistically significant. Quartile analysis based on baseline production of TNFα demonstrated a decrease in the treatment group's IL-6 levels. This group showed improvements in mechanical joint function and pain upon movement of joints specific to the knee and lower back. Overall, no significant antiinflammatory effects were seen. The evidence is therefore inconclusive and further investigations are required using a larger cohort with some degree of elevated inflammatory activity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Back
  • Beverages
  • Blueberry Plants
  • Chamomile*
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Filipendula*
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1beta / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Joints / drug effects*
  • Knee
  • Knee Joint
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / drug effects
  • Salix*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Interleukin-6
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha