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Achillea millefolium is beneficial as an add-on therapy in patients with multiple sclerosis: A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease for which to date there is no cure and the existing disease-modifying drugs just slow down the disease progression.

Purpose: In this clinical trial we evaluated the efficacy of Achillea millefolium (A. millefolium) aqueous extract in MS patients.

: A triple-blind randomized placebo-controlled parallel group trial was conducted on 75 MS patients.The patients were randomized into three groups including placebo and two groups receiving A. millefolium with two different doses, i.e. 250 mg/day and 500 mg/day, for 1 year. The primary outcome was the annualized relapse rate. Also, number and volume of lesions were obtained from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Furthermore, we performed a comprehensive neurological and cognitive tests as follows: changes in the expanded disability status scale (EDSS), the multiple sclerosis functional composite (MSFC), fatigue severity scale (FSS), Ashworth spasticity assessment, Beck depression test, State-trait anxiety inventory (STAI), mini-mental status examination (MMSE), Wisconsin card sorting test (WCST), tower of London test (TOL), word-pair learning, paced auditory serial addition task (PASAT) and standard laboratory tests.

Results: This study showed one year administration of A. millefolium (both doses) decreased the annual relapse rate in MS patients. The mean volume change of lesions significantly decreased in the 500 mg A. millefolium group. The add-on therapy also increased time to first relapse and the MSFC z-score; it decreased the EDSS score
and improved performance in word-pair learning, PASAT, and WCST.

Conclusion: We found beneficial effects of A. millefolium aqueous extract as an add-on therapy in MS patients.