Objectives: Arrowroot is an old-fashioned remedy for diarrhoea, but no clinical studies have been done to evaluate its effectiveness. The aim of this pilot study was to assess its efficacy as a treatment for diarrhoea in 11 patients, all of whom had irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea as a feature.
Methods: The patients were interviewed and a questionnaire completed on entry into the trial. They then took 10 mL arrowroot powder three times a day for one month and discontinued the treatment for the subsequent month. Questionnaires were completed after one month on treatment and at the end of the trial after one month off treatment.
Results: Arrowroot reduced diarrhoea and had a long-term effect on constipation. It also eased abdominal pain.
Conclusion: Arrowroot is an effective treatment for diarrhoea. Its action could be explained by several theories which relate to an increase in faecal bulk and thus a more efficient bowel action. The number of patients was small, and further studies are needed to substantiate preliminary results.