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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 906765, 14 pages
Review Article

Chinese Herbal Medicine for Postinfectious Cough: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Department of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, West China Hospital, West China School of Clinical Medicine, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China

Received 13 August 2013; Revised 26 September 2013; Accepted 26 September 2013

Academic Editor: Gerhard Litscher

Copyright © 2013 Wei Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chinese herbal medicine has been commonly used in the treatment of postinfectious cough. The aim of this review is to systematically evaluate the efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicine for postinfectious cough. An extensive search for RCTs was performed using multiple electronic databases, supplemented with a manual search. All studies included were confirmed with specific inclusion criteria. Methodological quality of each study was examined according to the Cochrane risk of bias assessment. Quality of evidence was evaluated using rating approach developed by GRADE working group. The literature search yielded 352 results, of which 12 RCTs satisfied the inclusion criteria, offering moderate-to-high levels of evidence. Methodological quality was considered high in three trials, while in the other nine studies the unclear risk of bias was in the majority. Findings suggested that, compared with western conventional medicine or placebo, Chinese herbal medicine could effectively improve core symptoms of postinfectious cough, act better and have earlier antitussive effect, and enhance patients’ quality of life. No serious adverse event was reported.