In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Fifty adults with self-reported unsatisfactory
bowel habits, primarily characterised by chronic constipation were randomly allocated to take Herbagut or a matching placebo for 28 days. Efficacy of gastrointestinal changes was measured by the completion of a patient daily diary evaluating changes in stool type (Bristol Stool Form Scale), ease of bowel movements, and feeling of complete evacuation; and the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS). Changes in quality of life were also examined using the World Health Organization Quality of Life – abbreviated version (WHOQOL-BREF), and the Patient Assessment of Constipation-Quality of Life (PAC-QOL).
Results: All participants completed the 28-day trial with no adverse events reported. Compared to the placebo, weekly bowel movements increased over time (p < .001), as did self-reported, normal bowel motions (76% vs 4%; p < .001). Self-reported incomplete evacuation was also lower in the Herbagut group compared to placebo (24% vs 76%;p = <.001). GSRS domain ratings for abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, and reflux also decreased significantly in people taking Herbagut compared to placebo (p < .001, for all domains). Moreover, quality of life significantly improved in the Herbagut group compared to placebo as indicated by significantly greater improvement in WHOQOL-BREF domain ratings for overall quality of life, social relations, environmental health, psychological health, and physical health (p < .001, for all domains); and PAC-QOL domain ratings for physical discomfort, psychosocial discomfort, worries and concerns, and life satisfaction (p < .001, for all domains). The changes were considered clinically meaningful as evidenced by their large effect sizes.
Conclusion: Herbagut ingestion over a 28-day period resulted in improvements in several gastrointestinal symptoms and overall quality of life. Further investigation utilising larger sample sizes and diverse clinical and cultural populations are needed.
Trial registration: Clinical Trials Registry- India /2016/11/007479. Registered 24 April 2015 (retrospectively registered).