The product, called Myrtol 300, has been on the market for more than 40 years and is sold in 23 countries. Pohl-Boskamp, which is privately held, claims that more than 250 million capsules of the product are sold annually.
Getting the gunk out
Myrtol 300 is based on a proprietary blend of ‘distillates’ of essential oils, including eucalyptus, lemon, orange and myrtle. The extracts are loaded in a capsule with a rapeseed oil carrier. Unlike some other herbal cold and flu products, such as echinacea, Myrtol 300 is aimed at helping deal with the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections by encouraging the expectoration of mucus, rather than seeking to lessen the duration of symptoms.
According to a company spokesperson, the proprietary oil blend together has “a mucolytic effect that supports healthy mucus production and expectoration. It is a dietary supplement that helps soothe coughs due to throat irritation by helping to loosen mucus and making it easier to expel irritants in the airways. It provides lung and sinus support and helps to clear and maintain a healthy respiratory tract. It can be used at the first signs of a cough or cold, up to two times per day.”
In the US market Myrtol is being marketed with claims such as “Helps to maintain respiratory health,” “Supports health mucus production” and “Sinus and lung support.” There is a battery of science that supports these claims. More than 40 papers listed on the NIH Pubmed database have studied the proprietary combination. A recent German study identified the key active ingredients as monoterpenes, d-limonene, 1,8-cineole, and alpha-pinene. “Myrtol standardized is estimated to have antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial potential while many studies confirmed its secretolytic and bronchospasmolytic effects,” they said. The researchers said that Myrtol could be an effective alternative to the overprescription of antibiotics, which so many patients have been conditioned to clamor for when suffering URTI symptoms.
“The potential advantages toward antibiotic therapy, such as the development of resistance and side effects, give clinicians a therapeutic alternative, especially in cases when diagnosis of bacterial infection is getting dubious,” they said.
While the manufacturer is careful to stay away from claims of lessening the duration of symptoms, there is some science that supports that effect. A recent Russian study found that children with acute rhino sinusitis who were treated with Myrtol needed the invention for an average of 2.2 days compared to 3.6 days for the control groups.
Hard launch in Anaheim
Pohl-Boskamp has been offering the product for sale in the US market online since November. The company is planning a ‘hard launch’ in the market at this week’s Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA, an appearance it hopes will drum up greater distribution. The company will be featuring the product at its booth No. 1078.
“The US market was not a priority for our company until recently when management decided to enter this very competitive market. At this time, Myrtol 300 is only available online via Amazon however we are constantly looking for other opportunities to reach new customers,” the spokesperson said. “We are still trying to ascertain Myrtol 300’s potential but the cough and cold market in the U.S. is over $4 billion annually.”