The efficacy of ma-huang-tang (maoto) against influenza


In this study, we compared Ma Huang Tang (maoto), a traditional Japanese medicine (Kampo), with antiviral drugs to evaluate their respective and combined effect on the duration of fever and other subjective symptoms of influenza. Forty-five patients enrolled in this randomized control trial had positive type A influenza on rapid influenza antigen test, provided written consent, and sought treatment at Juntendo University Hospital between November 2008 and March 2009. Using a computer-gen- erated list, patients were randomly assigned to one of the four intervention groups: 1): maoto (TJ-27), 9 subjects; 2): Tamiflu (oseltamivir), 13 subjects; 3): Relenza (zanamivir), 6 subjects; and 4): maoto/oseltamivir combination, 9 subjects. Six outcome measures were evaluated, including fever, myalgia, headache, arthralgia, fatigue, and cough. Statistical differences were determined by the Bonferroni-adjusted t-test for multiple comparisons. Our results showed that there were no significant differences among the four groups in the time-course profile of fever and the number of days until fever resolution since treatment was initiated. In addition, no significant intergroup differences were detected in the number of days until resolution of myalgia, headache, fatigue, and cough. However, the maoto group reported a more rapid improvement in joint pain than the oseltamivir group (P = 0.01). In conclusion, maoto showed comparable efficacy as antiviral medications in reducing fever and influenza symptoms. As serious concerns over the indiscriminate use, adverse reactions, and resistance to current antiviral drugs continue to grow, maoto may serve as an elegant option for the treatment of influenza.

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Saita, M. , Naito, T. , Boku, S. , Watanabe, Y. , Suzuki, M. , Oka, F. , Takahashi, M. , Sakurai, T. , Sogihara, E. , Haniu, T. , Uehara, Y. , Mitsuhashi, K. , Fukuda, H. , Isonuma, H. , Lee, K. and Kobayashi, H. (2011) The efficacy of ma-huang-tang (maoto) against influenza. Health, 3, 300-303. doi: 10.4236/health.2011.35052.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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