Apr. 27, 2011
NewsScientific News

Hay Fever: Plant Extract Ze 339 as New Therapy

  • Electron micrograph of healty ciliated lung epithelium. Photo: Dr. Ingrid Weichenmeier, ZAUMElectron micrograph of healty ciliated lung epithelium. Photo: Dr. Ingrid Weichenmeier, ZAUM

Fighting hay fever with a plant extract - this works, as was shown in a clinical study conducted by researchers of the Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM) of Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universität München. Allergic symptoms were alleviated significantly better than with the usual histamine receptor antagonists.

Antihistamine medications were hitherto considered the treatment of choice to alleviate the symptoms of hay fever sufferers. Now, in a randomized double-blind study, Dr. Adam Chaker and Prof. Dr. Carsten Schmidt-Weber demonstrated that the plant extract Ze 339 (Petasol butenoate complex) combats nasal mucosa swelling faster and more effectively. Apparently, however, the extract not only works in acute cases - "Our data indicate that the extract also has a preventive effect, which must be investigated further," said Dr. Schmidt-Weber, head of the Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM) in Munich. The results look promising for improving the quality of life of people with allergies.

So far the plant extract has only been approved as a drug in Switzerland and South Korea. Further studies need to be carried out in order to allow it to be sold as a prescription drug on the German market.

In the Western world allergies are on the rise. Forecasts indicate that by the middle of this century, 40% of the population will be sensitized to allergens, and of these about 50% will show symptoms of an allergic disease. At present already 20% of the northern European population is sensitized to airborne allergens such as grass and birch pollen.

Original publication:
Dumitru A.F. et al: Petasol butenoate complex (Ze 339) relieves allergic rhinitis-induced nasal obstruction more effectively than desloratadine, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2011 Apr 11. [Epub ahead of print]



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