Half the people who suffer from respiratory illness after long-haul flights could benefit from the use of the herbal medicine echinacea, according to a study from Griffith University.
The 170 participants travelled on return economy class flights from Australia to America, Europe and Africa and had a stop over of less than 12 hours.
Half of the participants took alkylamide standardised echinacea tablets during their travel period, while the other half took a placebo tablet.
Treatment started 14 days before flying overseas and was completed 14 days after returning to Australia. Participants were questioned in three separate surveys about their upper respiratory symptoms, jet lag duration, headache, sleep disturbances and cold sores.
Both groups experienced respiratory illness during travel but only 43% of those taking echinacea tablets showed symptoms of respiratory problems worth treating immediately after travel, compared with 57% of those taking the placebo tablet.
Four weeks later, only 25% of people taking echinacea showed symptoms worth treating, compared with 39% of those on the placebo.