Antitussive effect of a fixed combination of Justicia adhatoda, Echinacea purpurea and Eleutherococcus senticosus extracts in patients with acute upper respiratory tract infection: A comparative, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Phytomedicine. 2015 Dec 1;22(13):1195-200. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2015.10.001. Epub 2015 Oct 21.


Background: Kan Jang® oral solution (KJ) is a fixed combination of aqueous ethanolic extracts of Justicia adhatoda L. leaf, Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench root, and Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Harms root. It is approved in Scandinavia as an herbal medicinal product for respiratory tract infection treatment.

Purpose: The present clinical trial aimed to compare the antitussive effect of KJ with placebo (PL) and bromhexine (BH) among patients of 18-65 years old with non-complicated upper respiratory infections (URI; i.e., common cold).

Study design: We performed a parallel-group, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial in in 177 patients with acute URI over a 5 day period.

Methods: We investigated the antitussive effects of a KJ (30 ml/day; 762 mg genuine extracts with standardized contents of 0.2 mg/ml vasicine, 0.8 mg/ml chicoric acid, and 0.03 mg/ml eleutherosides B and E), bromhexine hydrochloride (24 mg/30 ml/day) and PL on cough and blood markers. The primary outcome was cough relief, which was assessed as the change of cough frequency from baseline (cough index). Secondary outcomes were safety with regards to reported adverse events (AEs) and hematological data.

Results: Both KJ and BH relieved cough more effectively than placebo. On the third and fourth days of treatment, we observed faster improvement in the group receiving KJ compared to in the groups receiving BH (100%) or PL (100%), indicating a slightly shorter recovery time in the KJ group. KJ showed a good tolerability and safety profile.

Conclusion: KJ exerted significant antitussive effects in URI. The present data further support the therapeutic use of KJ in upper respiratory tract infections.

Keywords: Cough; Kan Jang; Randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitussive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bromhexine / therapeutic use
  • Common Cold / drug therapy
  • Cough / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Echinacea / chemistry
  • Eleutherococcus / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Justicia / chemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Antitussive Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Bromhexine