The patented ingredient, marketed in the US by InterHealth Nutraceuticals under the name Aller-7, is made up of seven herbal extracts containing potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
The three-year study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research (XXIV (2/3):79-94, 2004), tested the product on 545 people with allergic rhinitis at 14 clinical centers.
Over a period of 12 weeks, 94 percent of patients in open label trials and 92 percent of patients in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials treated with Aller-7 reported an improvement in symptoms ranging from more than 40 to 100 percent, said the researchers.
Complete relief from sneezing, running nose and nasal congestion in open label trials was seen in 28 percent, 37 percent and 45 percent of patients, respectively.
Dr.V.S. Saxena, the study director at the Clinical Research Division of ASA Foundation, which coordinated the studies, said significant improvement was also observed in absolute eosinophil count, mucociliary clearance time and peak nasal flow rate, providing objective support to the patients' experiences.
No serious side-effects were observed, giving the supplement a significant advantage over some the traditional allergy medications.
"For many, side-effects of these medications, such as nervousness, headache, fatigue and drowsiness, are worse than the symptoms themselves," said William 'Skip' Seroy, president of InterHealth.
Airborne allergies affect more than 40 million people in US, who spend in excess of $4.5 billion annually in search of relief. The initial stages of allergic rhinitis are seasonal in nature, but often become perennial.
InterHealth suggests that Aller-7 is taken as a dietary supplement before the allergy season starts or even all year round, if perennial breathing difficulties are a problem.
According to Seroy, no other all-natural allergy product has been as extensively tested as Aller-7.
"The multicenter clinical trial on Aller-7 not only sets a research standard for all-natural allergy relief, but for natural products as a whole," he said.
Aller-7 is a patented blend of Phyllanthus emblica (fruit), Terminalia chebula (fruit), Terminalia bellerica (fruit), Albizia lebbeck (bark), Zingiber officinale (root), Piper longum (fruit) and Piper nigrum (fruit).
Developed by Bangalore, India-based Natural Remedies, it is made by a three-step extraction process and contains standardized levels of polyphenols, chebulic acid, glycosides, piperine, gallic acid, ellagic acid and gingerols.