Herbal Medicines for Rhinosinusitis: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2023 Feb;23(2):93-109. doi: 10.1007/s11882-022-01060-z. Epub 2023 Jan 7.


Purpose of review: To analyze and compare the effects of herbal medicines (HMs) for treating different forms of rhinosinusitis.

Recent findings: Forty-seven randomized controlled trials evaluating 18 HMs in six different rhinosinusitis populations were included in the network meta-analysis. Certainty of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. For the common cold, Pelargonium sidoides offered the most beneficial effect on symptom improvement (moderate certainty of evidence). For acute post-viral rhinosinusitis, Cineole and Pelargonium sidoides were the most effective treatments for controlling symptoms (moderate certainty), while Spicae aetheroleum was most effective for health-related quality of life (HRQoL) improvement (moderate certainty). For chronic rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps (CRSsNP), Origanum vulgare was the most beneficial treatment for improving symptoms and HRQoL (low certainty). Evidence of HMs for acute bacterial rhinosinusitis, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, and unclassified chronic rhinosinusitis was restricted to a limited number of studies. Adverse events should be of concern in some HMs, such as Spicae aetheroleum or Mytorl. Several HMs improved patient-important outcomes, above minimal clinically important differences, in treating common cold, acute post-viral rhinosinusitis, and CRSsNP. Further studies with adequate sample sizes and long-term follow-ups are warranted to support the current evidence.

Trial registration number and date of registration: PROSPERO ID: CRD42022328265 May 10, 2022.

Keywords: Acute; Anti-inflammatory; Chronic; Common cold; Herbal medicine; Rhinosinusitis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Chronic Disease
  • Common Cold*
  • Humans
  • Nasal Polyps* / drug therapy
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Quality of Life
  • Sinusitis* / drug therapy


  • Plant Extracts