Efficacy of an herbal dietary supplement (Smooth Move) in the management of constipation in nursing home residents: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2006 Nov;7(9):556-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2006.06.001. Epub 2006 Sep 26.


Objective: To investigate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of an herbal tea, Smooth Move, in nursing home residents with chronic constipation.

Design: Double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-armed, parallel-group clinical trial.

Setting: A 483-bed nursing home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, operated by Lehigh County Government.

Participants: A total of 86 nursing home residents with chronic constipation.

Interventions: Participants (n = 86) were randomly assigned to receive Smooth Move (n = 42) or a placebo (n = 44), once daily, in addition to standard treatment for chronic constipation. The study period was 28 days.

Measurements: The primary efficacy parameter was the difference in total number of bowel movements. Secondary parameters included the difference in average number of standard treatment doses dispensed, and the difference in total medication costs.

Results: Compared to placebo, in the intention to treat (ITT analysis) there was a statistically significant increase in the number of bowel movements in the Smooth Move group. The Smooth Move group (n = 42) compared with the placebo group (n = 44) experienced an average of 4.14 more bowel movements during the 28-day study period versus the 28-day pre-study period (P = .017).

Conclusion: Smooth Move herbal tea, when added to the standard treatment regimen for nursing home residents with chronic constipation, increased the average number of bowel movements compared to the addition of a placebo tea.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / economics
  • Beverages / standards*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cinnamomum aromaticum
  • Citrus sinensis
  • Constipation / etiology
  • Constipation / prevention & control*
  • Coriandrum
  • Defecation / drug effects
  • Dietary Supplements / economics
  • Dietary Supplements / standards*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Foeniculum
  • Fruit
  • Glycyrrhizic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Gum Arabic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Phytotherapy / economics
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Bark
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Zingiber officinale


  • Glycyrrhizic Acid
  • Gum Arabic