Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

  • 1 February 2019 to 20 February 2020
  • Project No: 441
  • Funding round: FR17


GPs often prescribe antibiotics for respiratory tract infections (RTIs) and urinary tract infections (UTIs), although sometimes they do little to speed recovery, especially in uncomplicated RTIs. The limited benefit of antibiotics is outweighed by rising resistance and risk of side effects. The hunt is on for alternative approaches to symptom relief for these common and uncomfortable infections, to reduce the use of antibiotics. 

In the pre-antibiotic era patients would rely on traditional remedies for symptom relief. The Southampton team has been leading a line of research examining whether herbal medicines may be an alternative option in RTIs and UTIs, including studies interviewing patients and GPs. Many patients already seek pharmacist advice for symptom relief but we need more information about how herbal medicines could be used through the community pharmacy network.


This proposed qualitative study is to explore the barriers and facilitators of acceptance from community pharmacist viewpoint on giving advice to patients on using herbal medicines in acute RTIs and acute UTIs.


We will interview pharmacists about the use of herbal medicines in infections by inviting them through community pharmacies. Interviews will follow an interview guide to ensure we cover key aims, while also remaining open to exploring pharmacists’ own perspectives.

Patient and public involvement

Patient representative Ms Margaret Bell has been involved in our programme of research into herbal medicines and infections. She has been involved in finalising this application and will be involved in study design and dissemination of findings.


If ongoing trials show that herbal medicines are helpful for treating infections and pharmacists view herbs as an acceptable alternative for symptomatic relief, we will develop ways and standards for promoting use of herbal medicine for infections through the community pharmacy network. 


Amount awarded: £26 145

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.