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Larch Bark Extract Shown to Reduce Incidences of Cold

The common cold still doesn't have a cure, and symptoms can last several days. However, a recent study suggests that taking an antioxidant-rich larch arabinogalactan extract may reduce the number of times people get colds by 23%.

The study included 199 adults between the ages of 18 and 70 who self-reported at least three colds in the six months prior to the research period. Over the course of 12 weeks, half of the group took 4.5 g daily of the larch bark arabinogalactan supplement while the other half took a placebo.

During the 12 weeks, all of the participants recorded when they had colds and rated how extreme their symptoms were, results of which were confirmed by doctors.

At the conclusion of the study, 91.2% of the supplement group had not suffered from a cold incident at all. Only 88.5% of the individuals in the placebo group went the entire study period without any cold incidents.

The study was conducted by the German consultancy group Analyze & Realize. It was published online ahead of print on January 22, 2013, in Current Medical Research and Opinion.

Larch trees are a type of evergreen native to the Alps and Russia. Arabinogalactan is made from the bark of the Larch tree. It is a source of dietary fiber that acts as a prebiotic by serving as a food supply to friendly intestinal bacteria. Previous studies have also shown that it may boost the immune system and lessen the severity of cold and flu symptoms.

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