Anthroposophic medicine in the treatment of pediatric pseudocroup: A systematic review

Complement Ther Med. 2018 Oct:40:185-190. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.09.001. Epub 2017 Sep 4.


Background: In Europe only few integrative pediatric wards exists and there are two German hospitals focusing on anthroposophic medicine as part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Whilst the most common pediatric diseases are treated here, pseudocroup patients make up a large group in these hospitals, receiving conventional as well as anthroposophic therapies. However, effectiveness of these therapy concepts mostly based on physicians' experiences but clinical studies are hitherto missing.

Methods: A systematic literature search identifying therapy approaches for pseudocroup in children was conducted in general electronic databases (Cochrane Library, PubMed, OVID) and in CAM-specific databases (CAMbase, CAM-QUEST®, Anthromedics). Search results were screened for anthroposophic therapy options. In addition, anthroposophic guidebooks were handsearched for relevant information.

Results: Among 157 articles fulfilling search criteria one retrospective study, and five experience reports describing anthroposophic treatments were identified. Several medications for the treatment of pseudocroup were mentioned such as Aconitum, Apis, Bryonia, Hepar sulfuris, Lavender, Pyrit, Sambucus and Spongia. During appropriate use no adverse effects were reported.

Conclusion: Anthroposophic medicine harbors a broad spectrum of remedies for the treatment of pseudocroup in children. In particular, Aconitum, Bryonia and Spongia are frequently recommended; however, clinical trials investigating the effectiveness are sparse. Therefore, development and validation of therapy strategies are required.

Keywords: Aconitum; Acute subglottic laryngitis; Anthroposophic medicine; Bryonia; Pediatric; Pseudocroup; Spongia.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aconitum / chemistry
  • Anthroposophy*
  • Bryonia / chemistry
  • Child
  • Croup / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Laryngitis / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Plant Extracts