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Effect of adding the herb Achillea millefolium on mouthwash on chemotherapy induced oral mucositis in cancer patients: A double-blind randomized controlled trial

Background: Oral mucositis (OM) is a debilitating side-effect of chemotherapy. It has different complications, including impairment of drinking, eating and even talking, sometimes so severe that physician stops the therapy.

Objective: Investigating the effect of Achillea millefolium distillate solution in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced OM.

Interventions/methods: In this randomized controlled trial, 56 cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced OM were randomly assigned into control and experimental groups in similar blocks based on the severity of OM. The experimental group gargled 15 mL of a mixture of routine solution and distilled A. millefolium 4 times a day for 14 days while the control group gargled 15 mL of routine solution. The severity of OM was assessed at three times before, 7 and 14 days after intervention. Data was analyzed using Wilcoxon, Kruskal-Wallis, Mann-Whitney U, Friedman, Chi-square and Fisher's exact tests.

Results: The mean severity score of OM was 2.39 ± 0.875 in both groups at start of the study that was changed to 1.07 ± 0.85 and 0.32 ± 0.54 in the intervention group in days 7 and 14 (p < 0.001). However, the severity of OM was increased to 2.75 ± 0.87 and 2.89 ± 0.956 in the control group respectively (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: A. millefolium distillate healed OM much more than the routine solution. Therefore, it is suggested to be used in patients with chemotherapy-induced OM.