Constipation is a frequent cause of distress in advanced cancer. A palliative care unit in Kerala, a southern state of India, conducted a controlled trial comparing a liquid Ayurvedic (herbal) preparation (Misrakasneham) with a conventional laxative tablet (Sofsena) in the management of opioid-induced constipation in patients with advanced cancer. Although there was no statistically significant difference in the apparent degree of laxative action between the two, the results indicate that the small volume of the drug required for effective laxative action, the tolerable taste, the once-daily dose, the acceptable side effect profile, and the low cost make Misrakasneham a good choice for prophylaxis in opioid- induced constipation. There is a need for further studies of Ayurvedic medicines in palliative care.
Ramesh, P. R., Kumar, K. S., Rajagopal, M. R., Balachandran, P., & Warrier, P. K. (1998). Managing morphine-induced constipation: A controlled comparison of an Ayurvedic formulation and senna. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 16(4), 240–244. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0885-3924(98)00080-3