"Here in the U.S., we do things differently," he said. "We have our prescription drugs on the one hand, and then we have dietary supplements on the other."
But, MacKay continued, "it should also be understood that these two treatments actually work very differently. Tamiflu works to stop viral replication. But the herbal formula is working on symptoms to help people become more comfortable. And those are two very different goals," he noted.
"So our advice," MacKay added, "is that because H1N1 can be very serious, it's very important to see your doctor. And once you're under the care of your licensed physician there's certainly a lot of things in the world of botanicals that might help."
For more on the flu and traditional medicine, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
SOURCES: Chen Wang, M.D., Ph.D., and Bin Cao, M.D., department of infectious diseases and clinical microbiology, Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital, Beijing Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Capital Medical University, Beijing; Duffy MacKay, N.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Washington, D.C.; Aug. 16, 2011, Annals of Internal Medicine
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