DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 811–826 | Cite as

Traditional, complementary and alternative medicine in children constipation: a systematic review

  • Maryam Sadat Paknejad
  • Monireh Sadat Motaharifard
  • Shahdis Barimani
  • Payam Kabiri
  • Mehrdad KarimiEmail author
Review article



This review aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of complementary and alternative medicine methods for constipation in the pediatric population.

Evidence acquisition

Medical literature search was performed in several databases for a variety of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in childhood constipation. Databases included Web of Science, Scopus, Embase, Cochrane Library, PubMed, ScienceDirect, Google scholar and a number of Persian databases including IranDoc, Magiran and SID. No time limitation was determined. Clinical trials or case series that had evaluated the effectiveness of CAM therapies in functional constipation of 1–18 year old children were included. Papers not in English or Persian language were excluded. Related articles were screened independently by two reviewers according to their titles and abstracts. A data extraction form was filled in for each eligible paper. Quality assessment of eligible documents was also performed.


30 studies were included, comprising 27 clinical trials and 3 case series. Ten documents were on herbal medicine, nine on traditional medicine, ten on manual therapies and one on homeopathy. Except for two herbal and one reflexology interventions, all studies reported positive effects on childhood constipation, with the majority being statistically significant. As the number of studies in each method was limited, we could not perform a meta-analysis.


The scarcity of research on the efficacy and safety of different types of complementary and alternative medicine methods in children with constipation necessitates conducting more studies in each field.

Graphical abstract


Complementary therapies Alternative medicine Traditional medicine CAM Constipation Pediatrics 



We would like to thank Dr. Ayeh Naghizadeh who kindly edited the final version of the manuscript.

Author contributions

MK made the main themes of the study. MSP searched databases and selected articles. MSP, MSM and SB assessed papers for eligibility, read full texts, filled a form for each one and assessed their quality. MSP created the table of results and wrote review draft. MK and PK reviewed the draft critically. MK was the guarantor of the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Supplementary material

40199_2019_297_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Traditional MedicineTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Persian MedicineShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  3. 3.Department of Biostatics and Epidemiology, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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