Effectiveness of Pelargonium sidoides in pediatric patients diagnosed with uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection: a single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study

Eur J Pediatr. 2021 Sep;180(9):3019-3028. doi: 10.1007/s00431-021-04211-y. Epub 2021 Jul 24.


Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are a condition characterized by upper airway inflammation often caused by viruses in humans. The present study aimed to assess the effectiveness of the liquid herbal drug preparation from the root extracts of Pelargonium sidoides in improving symptoms of uncomplicated URTIs. One hundred sixty-four patients with URTI were randomized and given either verum containing the root extracts of Pelargonium sidoides (n = 82) or a matching placebo (n = 82) in a single-blind manner for 7 days. The median total scores of all symptoms (TSS) showed a significant decreasing trend in the group treated with the root extracts derived from Pelargonium sidoides compared to the placebo group from day 0 to day 7 (TSS significantly decreased by 0.85 points in the root extract group compared to a decrease of 0.62 points, p = 0.018). "Cough frequency" showed a significant improvement from day 0 to day 3 (p = 0.023). There was also detected a significant recovery in "sneezing" on day 3 via Brunner-Langer model, and it was detected that the extract administration given in the first 24 h onset of the symptoms had provided a significant improvement in day 0 to day 3 (difference of TSS 0.18 point, p = 0.011).Conclusion: The findings of the study revealed that the Pelargonium sidoides extracts are effective in relieving the symptom burden in the duration of the disease. It may be regarded as an alternative option for the management of URTIs. What is Known: • Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), an inflammation on the upper airways, are the most common infectious disease in children. • Pelargonium sidoides, a traditional medicinal plant native to South Africa, is one of the ornamental geraniums that is thought to be effective in treating URTIs What is New: • It may be revealed that the dried root extract of Pelargonium sidoides compared with placebo might be an alternative treatment in improving the symptoms such as dry cough, sneezing, and relieving cough frequency. • The administration of the root extract at the onset of URTIs' signs may be regarded as an adjunctive option for the management of URTIs due to its effectiveness in decreasing the symptom burden of the disease.

Keywords: Children; Herbal drug preparation; Pelargonium sidoides; Upper respiratory tract infections.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Pelargonium*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / drug therapy
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Plant Extracts