The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Natural herbal medicine used to complement SARS treatment

    SARS, of course, is severe acute respiratory syndrome — a viral pneumonia. There was one major epidemic in late 2002 where about 10% of those infected died.

    In this study, a concoction of natural herbal medicines (NHM) plus routine western treatment appeared to be safe, with evidence of benefit over western treatment alone.

    First, the details.

    • 28 patients with SARS received routine western-medicine treatment — Ribavirin (Robatol) plus clarithromycin (Biaxin).
    • They were also randomly assigned to one of the 2 herbal mixtures (NHM-A or NHM-B) or placebo.
    • Neither patients nor doctors knew the treatment given.

    And, the results.

    • The NHM-A group showed significantly more rapid improvement as measured by chest x-ray (7 vs 11 days with western treatment alone).
    • 3 patients developed mild diarrhea and one had abdominal discomfort after taking NHM-A.

    NHM-A included 13 herbs and was designed by a Chinese-herb consulting physician team according to the theory of Chinese medicine and their clinical experience.

    The bottom line?
    The availability of x-ray evidence of improvement with NHM-A, even though it was a small group of patients, is intriguing.

    The researchers, were from several centers in Taiwan, and are appropriately conservative in their conclusions.

    • Too few patients to be conclusive
    • HHM-A appears to be safe in non-critically ill patients.
    • Clinical trials are feasible in the setting of pandemic outbreaks of SARS.

    During the epidemic of 2002-2003, Taiwan had the 3rd highest number of cases after China and Hong Kong.

    6/22/07 09:58 JR

    Leave a Comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.