Answers to childhood asthma may be in herbal medicine

A clinical trial to determine whether a herbal medicine can ease the symptoms of asthma in children is underway at RMIT University.

Researchers are calling for people to take part in a trial, after interest in the therapy heightened the need for a rigorous examination that met international standards.

The results of a small trial suggest that a herbal medicine called ‘Oralmat DropsTM’, already available in Australia, may be able to assist in controlling asthma symptoms.

Professor Marc Cohen, Head of Complementary Medicine and Masters student Sheena Maxwell, who will be conducting this trial, see great benefit if the results are positive.

“If this herbal remedy is able to assist in controlling asthma symptoms then there are many people in our community who could benefit, so it is a very important trial,” Professor Cohen said.

“Oralmat DropsTM is a complementary medicine and is not intended to replace pharmacological medicines,” Professor Cohen said.

The research will examine various theories as to why the drops, which are made from rye grass extract, appear to have a positive impact on asthma sufferers.

Asthma currently affects as many as 25 per cent of Australian children and despite the use of modern pharmaceuticals, it can still result in hospitalisation or even death in otherwise healthy children.

Professor Cohen is looking for around 100 people to take part in the trial. People with mild to moderate asthma between the ages of 8 and 16 years who are able to attend the clinic at RMIT Bundoora for assessments are invited to participate.

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