Objective: Herbal medicines have been used widely for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients. The aim of this study is to investigate efficacy and safety of an Ayurvedic herbal compound preparation made from: Murraya koenigii (curry), Punica granatum (pomegranate) and Curcuma longa (turmeric), compared to a placebo in patients with diarrhoea predominant IBS.
Material and methods: This trial was conducted as a randomised placebo-controlled crossover trial with randomised sequence of verum and placebo for each patient. Verum and placebo were provided as ground powders and delivered in sealed containers. Patients and outcome assessors were blinded. Patients were advised to ingest the decoction twice daily for 4 weeks. The primary outcome measure was IBS symptom intensity; secondary outcomes included: quality of life, anxiety and depression, compliance and safety.
Results: 32 IBS patients were included in the trial (19 females, mean age 50.3±11.9years). Eleven people dropped out during the trial resulting in 37 complete verum and 35 complete placebo phases. No group differences were found between verum and placebo for IBS symptom intensity (difference 24.10; 95% CI: -17.12; 65.32, p=0.26). The same was true for secondary outcomes. Compliance was satisfactory to good and the preparation appeared to be safe, but one third of the patients registered at least one minor adverse event that might be related to the study interventions.
Conclusion: An Ayurvedic herbal preparation made from Murraya koenigii, Punica granatum and Curcuma longa appeared to be no more effective in improving diarrhoea predominant irritable bowel symptoms than placebo.
Keywords: Ayurveda; Diarrhoea; Herbal therapy; Irritable bowel syndrome; Randomised controlled trial.
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