Effect of korean herbal medicine combined with a probiotic mixture on diarrhea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:824605. doi: 10.1155/2013/824605. Epub 2013 Dec 5.

Abstract

Introduction. Although combination therapy with herbal medicine and probiotics is gaining popularity for controlling diarrhea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome (D-IBS) symptoms, few studies have investigated its clinical effects. Materials and Methods. Fifty-three patients with D-IBS were randomly allocated into 1 of the following 4 groups: herbal medicine (Gwakhyangjeonggisan; GJS) plus probiotics (Duolac7S; DUO), GJS plus placebo DUO, placebo GJS plus DUO, and placebo GJS plus placebo DUO. The study period consisted of a 2-week run-in, 8 weeks of administration, and 2 weeks of follow-up. The primary outcomes were weekly adequate relief (AR) of overall IBS symptoms and the proportion of responders (PR) during the administration period. The secondary outcomes included individual IBS symptoms, stool assessment, and quality of life. Changes of intestinal microbiota and intestinal permeability were also analyzed. Results and Discussion. Weekly AR was not different among the 4 groups throughout the treatment period. However, the 3 treatment groups exhibited significant improvements in PR compared to the findings in the placebo group. In the intestinal microbiota assessment, herbal medicine and probiotics synergistically increased beneficial bacteria counts. Conclusion. Combination therapy with herbal medicine and probiotics appears to relieve overall IBS symptoms by synergistically increasing beneficial intestinal microbe counts.