Patients with respiratory tract infections are frequently treated by complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities. This editorial reviews current literature on the most popular CAM modalities used by these patients: acupuncture, herbal therapy, vitamins and homeopathy. Several good quality trials in acupuncture, herbal therapy and homeopathy have reported positive effects in allergic rhinitis and asthma. However, overall mixed results and methodological flaws, when analyzed by systematic reviews, lead to the conclusion that, as yet, there is insufficient evidence to reliably assess the possible role of these treatments for rhinitis and asthma. Safety issues of herbal therapies require special attention. Further good quality research and subsequent meta-analysis of the trials are required.