Q. I have had colitis for almost three years. Last month a friend mentioned that she read an article in the newspaper about coconut macaroon cookies preventing diarrhea.
I was ready to try anything, so I bought some cookies. The rest is history. I can now go anywhere without worrying about my uncontrollable problem! I consider it a miracle!

A. We have heard from hundreds of readers about the benefits of dried coconut or macaroon cookies to combat chronic diarrhea. Whether the symptoms are from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or colitis, many people find this natural remedy helpful.

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  1. Paul
    Reply

    I have been dealing with ulcerative colitis off and on now for six years. Two years ago, I ended up in the hospital where my gastroenterologist told me I had no choice but to have a colostomy. I told him no way! I found a nutritionist who got me off all medications and helped me battle colitis flare-ups with diet.
    Part of my diet includes VSL#3. You need to mix it with a good prebiotic. I use raw honey and coconut milk. While I do buy store bought coconut from Trader Joe’s, I also buy real coconuts and extract the milk from the meat by using a masticating juicer. After the juicer separates the milk, I combine it with the coconut water. I use this for my cereal (Nature’s Path) and I add honey, walnut pieces, and blueberries.
    Since I have been on this diet, I have only had two short flare-ups over the past two years and have not touched a single medication. Other than that, if you are currently having a flare-up, you need to eat cooked or steamed vegetables, tropical fruits like papayas and bananas, and nuts (walnuts, pistachios, cashews, and sunflower seeds are high in iron), and salmon.
    Stay away from all meats, diary products including yogurt, and sugary foods, except raw fruits. Always eat foods high in iron with foods high vitamin C. Ultimately, if Collagenous Colitis is the same as as Ulcerative Colitis, you have to reduce your stress. Stress is my #1 enemy. I hope this helps.
    BTW: If you decide to buy a masticating juicer and extract the milk, take the top cap off. The dry coconut meats stick inside and can cause the pressure to break the second cap and the juicing screen. You will know what I mean if you do it. Also, you will need a butter knife to separate the meat from the shell. It is very hard work. Before doing it, make slices in the meat so they come out in small sections. If the meat separates easily from the shell, do not eat it. The coconut is bad. Good meat will be extremely hard to separate from the shell. Is it worth the hassle…For me…yes! Good luck and God bless you.

  2. SH
    Reply

    I was diagnosed with Collagenous Colitis last August. My doc put me on a month of Entocort which immediately helped. My symptoms returned 3 weeks later. I am now on my 3rd round of Entocort and it doesn’t seem to be working like it did. Now, my doc wants me to add Pepto 3 times a day. Has anyone ever tried essential oils as a remedy? Also, what about the probiotic VSL #3?

  3. Melinda
    Reply

    Dear NH,
    I have had colitis for the past 17 years now and have been on several medication. At the moment, I am on 8 tablets of Asacol and Influximab injection to stabilise it.
    I cannot be on these tablets for the rest of my life and need a herbal cure to this disturbing illness. Do you think the coconut maracons will cure my colitis completely or stabilise it?
    Moreover, I want to know whether your colitis has been cured completely with herbal medication.
    Desperate Melinda

  4. Kay
    Reply

    I found out by accident that coconut and macaroon cookies stopped my heartburn and acid reflux and hiatal hernia almost immediately. I thought I was imagining things, but have been simply eating coconut instead of taking two pepcid per day. What an amazing discovery!

  5. Zee
    Reply

    Thanks for the info on Coconut Macaroons. Will give it a try. I’ve had Crohns for 26 yrs & still suffer from diarrhea most days. Fingers crossed with the Macaroons!!

  6. snoekie
    Reply

    CAS, I have Crohns, in remission. Following on from my earlier post, after a month sprinkling a teaspoon of dessicated coconut on my cereal, adding to rice and sauces, the product is definitely more firm and it would appear that for most of the time toilet paper is not necessary, it is clean after use.
    I am not saying it is a cure, but it does seem to help.

  7. snoekie
    Reply

    When I was first diagnosed with Crohns in 1990 (aged 50), my specialist made an odd comment, that people living in the tropics did not (rarely perhaps but I didn’t remember that) develop Crohns. I have been in remission now for some years now. I have often wondered why.
    That meant I could stop the azathioprine, which I did, and almost immediately started getting incredible pain in the individual joints of my hands, often subsiding within 24 hours (after taking powerful pain killers, initially prescribed for post operative pain for knee ops.I call it flitting arthritis (flits from one joint to another), official name multiple arthritis. On occasions the pain would shift from one joint to another the following day. Back to the azathioprine to suppress the antibodies, but that in turn affects immune response to infections, multiple doses of pneumonia!
    I am the told that rheumatoid arthritis is not infrequently a side effect of Crohns. The doctor has been happy to resupply me with these powerful prescription painkillers, sulpadol and tramadol, which can be used in combination if the pain is bad, and if really bad, neurofen can be added (per my daughter, a consultant anesthetist). The pain usually is quickly bearable in a short space of time and mostly gone within 8 hours. I have learnt to avoid, or take only occasionally, lemons, limes, tomatoes, rhubarb and other acidic food, and restrict my intake of pickled food and limiting the wine intake to only occasionally. Result, I can be pain free for periods of up to a fortnight.
    I also found if I wrapped the offending joint with a woolly walking sock the pain was (would you believe ‘more comfortable). My daughter explains this by the fact that pain and warmth signals use the same nerve system. I take two walking socks, pin the toes together (will now sew them together), with an initial turn around the wrist, looped over the offending joint and then around the wrist, with several safety to keep the writ loops together, and to retain the joint cover anther safety pin to hold the jint loop together. Once made, the creation can be slipped on and off at will, and when the pain shifts, it fits the new joint by inserting the digit of the offending joint in the loop created..
    Looks funny, but heck, it works for me and really makes the pain feel more comfortable, and backs off mild attacks without need for pain killers.
    The other day I came across some dessicated coconut (bought years ago to go with curries) and decided to look up details (have done this for spice seeds and came up with a cold remedy that works for me).. Very interesting. In the gut it becomes a gel, much like the fibre gel prescribed for me way back, but rarely taken (YUK). I have added this to my daily diet cereal, gravies, rice, mash, sauces. Early days, but the more interesting properties of antimicrobial and antiviral as well as being a tropical fruit (original comment of my specialist?).
    My experience, and sorry about the ‘tome’, but may be of interest.

  8. Virendra
    Reply

    Dry coconut is very useful. it should be eaton after meal little bit.
    It contains oil.

  9. BR
    Reply

    To Sabrina, 3/19/10. I have IBS and and suffer from bloating when I eat something that triggers my IBS. Breathing is labored, lots of discomfort and clothes feel restricting. I was watching Dr. Oz in 10/2011 and he recommended Peppermint Oil. The peppermint oil I bought is 100% essential oil. I use 2 drops in 8 oz of water and drink it. I will, depending on how much bloating occurs throughout the day, drink up to 3 or 4 glasses of this mixture. After drinking it within 5 to 100 minutes I will start burping an incredible amount, my bloating goes down, I can breathe easier and my discomfort is gone.

  10. Pam
    Reply

    I was diagnosed with Collagenous Colitis 5 years ago. Personally I have been able to control it with a combination of things: 2 Asacol 3 times a day, 2 Fiber Con tablets once a day, & consuming 30-40 grams of fiber a day. The last is the toughest part. I use several Fiber One products for the most part.
    I also try to stay away from “white” foods (bread, rice) and fried, greasy foods. But, if I can cram in enough fiber on any given day, I am ok with french fries, chips, etc. occasionally. It’s tricky business! Good luck.

  11. RICHARD
    Reply

    IBS I’m back, I may have been a little premature in my praise for macaroons working wonders. The cookies I purchased were a great “stopper” however I obtained the nutritionals from the Publix supermarket and found that the cookies were loaded with sugar and fat. Since I have diabetes and should eat little fat, as well as sugar, it was bye bye macaroons.
    I did start using shredded coconut, and mixed with oatmeal for breakfast it works (one or two tablespoons). My next approach will be Coconut Oil gel-caps which can be taken during the day when away from home… Hope this helps all you fellow suffers.

  12. RICHARD
    Reply

    I listen to YOUR radio program on NPR. I live in south Florida and WAS half asleep one morning when heard some one praise the effects of macaroon cookies as an aid for stopping IBS. Trouble was I had a tough time in locating the cookies anywhere in my area however there were many sources online. I scouted all of the bakeries and candy shops and struck out.
    My last resort in the search was Publix Supermarket. I inquired as to where if any, were macaroons located and lo-and behold two tables with the most beautiful freshly made macaroons, in large clear plastic containers. I had three of the cookies on my way home and so far so good….
    as a last resort

  13. Gerald at crohns help
    Reply

    I have heard about the macaroon cookie remedy, and if it works for you I’m happy. Many crohns sufferers have not heard of the research about the crohns yeast connection as well as many other so called autoimmune diseases. Research has linked crohns and other inflammatory bowel diseases, as well as MS, Lupus, some forms of arthritis and even cancer to the yeast fungus, and antibiotic use.
    In the research it was found that these autoimmune diseases responded favorably to an anti yeast treatment and an anti yeast diet. Being a former crohns/ulcerative colitis sufferer I found relief in other forms icluding a crohns diet. Get the book by Doug Kaufman and Dr. David Holland called “The Fungus Link” You can also find information on Dr. Mercolas Website about the crohns/yeast connection

  14. LCC
    Reply

    Was diagnosed with collogenous collitis two months ago. (It’s rare; is similar, but different than Crohn’s, IBS, etc.) Took one week each of Entocort, then Azacol with no results. Then three weeks on prednizone which almost killed me! Switched Dr., who has prescribed Pepto Bismol 2 tablets, 4/day.
    Said it would take 6-8 weeks. It’s been 3 weeks, and it’s getting worse. Over 50 episodes of diarrhea in last 24 hours. Have been told to stay on VERY LOW FIBER diet – is coconut low fiber??? Any other info. on “Collogenous Collitis”?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: COLLAGENOUS COLITIS IS AN INFLAMMATORY BOWEL CONDITION. PEOPLE ARE USUALLY TOLD TO AVOID FOODS WITH CAFFEINE OR MILK SUGAR (LACTOSE) AND SOMETIMES ADVISED TO FOLLOW A LOW FAT DIET. COCONUT IS FAIRLY HIGH IN FAT. ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT CHOLESTYRAMINE, A CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING DRUG THAT SEEMS TO EASE THE DIARRHEA OF COLLAGENOUS COLITIS. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CONDITION AT THE CROHN’S AND COLITIS FOUNDATION: http://www.ccfa.org

  15. CSS
    Reply

    I plan on introducing the 1 teaspoon of dried unsweetened coconut into my diet to hopefully eliminate the symptoms of ulcerative colitis that I have had for the last 10 years. I was wondering if anyone has been able to stop their medications after taking the coconut and how long was it before they could? Is the 1 teaspoon daily enough coconut? I heard only part of the “call in” on the radio show around a month ago when someone had called in about this.
    I appreciate any feedback. CSS

  16. sabrina
    Reply

    I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2007. I have been craving coconut lately an did not know why. This info was so cool. I also have ibs. Does anyone know what to do for the severe bloating? I eat very healthy but am bloated everyday to the point of my clothes not fitting and I am a petite girl. Please let me know. I already take gas pills, they aren’t much help.

  17. Stephanie
    Reply

    I have had Ulcerative Colitis for years and still have not been able to figure out what triggers it. I am usually able to control it through diet and exercise (I believe), and I eat a high protein diet with lots of vegetables and low sugar. But, I’ve been having flare ups lately and I have no idea why. The same friend that recommended this site to me also recommended Kefir to combat my troubled stomach. I will definitely try the coconut too. I’ll probably start with coconut oil.

  18. Trish
    Reply

    I thought the following information interesting to pass along as a piece to the medicinal coconut puzzle. I found the following coconut information while researching other related issues and I remembered the coconut questions and comments in People’s Pharmacy. It appears no one answered the question “why” coconut works – this is always the first question I ask.
    Coconut oil contains 48-50% LAURIC ACID, a fat (the only other good source of LAURIC ACID is mother’s milk). Lauric acid is broken down by saliva or skin bacteria to make MONOLAURIN. MONOLAURIN is an amazing anti-microbial that acts like a secret agent.
    Viruses and bacteria cleverly wrap themselves in fatty acids (monolaurin is a fatty acid) so they can get in the body without being destroyed by our bodies chemical environment. When monolaurin is present, the microbes just see it as another fat and use it to wrap themselves. But, secret agent monolaurin rapidly dissolves, disintegrating the microbes protective coating, exposing it to the bodies chemical environment, where it is then destroyed.
    From what I have read, the coconut that contains LAURIC ACID, which the body uses to make the MONOLAURIN that kills bacteria/viruses, is the reason it is effective treatment for diarrhea and other intestinal issues. Everything I read referred to coconut oil, but I am assuming the same applies to coconut flakes etc, just to a lesser extent because it’s not as concentrated as the coconut oil. Much more fascinating health information about coconuts on the net or look for books by Bruce Fife on the issue. I don’t have any serious intestinal issues, but after stumbling on coconut facts and researching them myself, I am definitely going to incorporate coconut oil in my diet for immune support!! Hope this helps!

    • MRNYC
      new york
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing all your experiences with coconut oil as a possible remedy to soothing our common intestinal problems. I’ve been dealing with UC for 3 years and being on this 2 pill 3x’s a day Asacol HD 800mg regimen hasn’t gotten me to where I thought I would be by now. I’m not one to keep trying all these different prescriptions and making pharmaceutical companies rich at my expense. I’m going to give this coconut oil a try as part of my diet and pray that it sends my symptoms into remission permanently.
      Thank you!

  19. CAS
    Reply

    I’m a health information professional and the mother of a previously healthy nonsmoking, non-substance-abusing, non-soda-pop drinking, non-red meat-eating, and primarily lacto-ovo vegetarian teenager. Despite all these good habits my son was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 13. 15-20% of the 1 million Americans living with inflammatory bowel disease are under 18 and some of them are infants and toddlers. Our family has learned to take statements about dietary prevention or “cures” for digestive diseases with a considerable amount of salt.
    Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are thought to be autoimmune diseases, and like the other 80-odd autoimmune diseases out there, they are subject to an incredible amount of individual variation; some people go into remission lasting many years with no interventions at all; others, like my son, have great difficulty staying in remission.
    Jordan Rubin’s website indicates that he has Crohn’s Disease, not ulcerative colitis. These two make up the principal inflammatory bowel diseases, and are treated with many of the same medications, but have different clinical courses. Neither has anything to do with IBS. The term “colitis” used by itself is confusing. IBS used to be “spasmodic colitis” years ago.
    I can’t tell if the people recommending coconut are talking about IBS or ulcerative colitis. It is true that many people living with inflammatory bowel disease find that following particular diets and avoiding particular foods makes a big difference in their symptoms. Be very wary, however, of anybody who says that any food is a cure or that these diseases are caused by food. This has been extensively researched for decades, and probiotics are being extensively researched now. There is no scientific evidence that diet is implicated in causing inflammatory bowel disease and it’s too early to tell about probiotics helping.
    Visit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America website (www.ccfa.org) to find more information, support and resources, including a discussion board and a help line. I can also recommend an excellent and very helpful book, “Colitiscope”, written by a man living with ulcerative colitis. Check out the Amazon reviews or read about it at http://www.colitiscope.net/.

  20. Christi
    Reply

    I couldn’t find macaroons at first so I tried the flaked sweetened coconut in a bag found in the baking section. Less than a 1/4 cup in the morning and it helped right away. I have collogenous colitis, take asacol daily and have struggled with diarrhea, bloating, gas, etc for over 3 years. Not to mention the flareups. After reading the other comments today, I will get the unsweetened coconut.
    Fortunately, I like it so it is easy to eat just a small portion daily. I can tell my life is going to improve greatly. Thank you for your website. I am a fan.

  21. Health Care Advocate
    Reply

    Is this the coconut juice or the coconut flesh itself?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: MOST PEOPLE HAVE REPORTED USING DRIED, FLAKED COCONUT (SWEETENED OR NOT). BUT WE DON’T KNOW IF THAT DISQUALIFIES THE LIQUID PART OF THE COCONUT AND SUSPECT IT WORKS TOO.

  22. Fung
    Reply

    Yap, I agree, coconut macaroons are wonderful. I keep them in the freezer.

  23. elke
    Reply

    Greg, try a teaspoon of dessicated coconut (not the long shreds) unsweetened available only at a health food store, in peanut butter, almond butter, yogurt, pudding or whatever you can think of. I like it in pancakes and I don’t even have IBS or colitis. Raw, unrefined coconut oil comes in a jar and is solid unless it’s very hot in/outside and it is very healing to the body. Only the refined stuff they use in deep frying and baking is bad for the arteries. Some supermarkets carry it in their health section and whole foods markets carry it.
    The archway cookies have way too much junk and hydrogenated fats in them for my taste. Some people have blogged at this site and said they can eat 2 cookies but at three they get slightly constipated. You have to start slowly and observe. Jordin Rubin wrote the book “Patient heal Thyself”, it’s all about how he went from dying of colitis and 89 lbs to a strapping young entrepreneur who founded the company “Garden of Life” in West Palm Beach. Probiotics play a big role in this illness and no junk food. I hope you’ll get the book, he used to mail it out free. Get better soon.

  24. Cindy B.
    Reply

    Yesterday one of my elderly gardening clients came to the door very ill. He had gone to the ER for severe diarrhea and vomiting. The Rx meds had not stopped the diarrhea. I went to the store and got him some coconut macaroons. He called me 4 hours later and said they worked great. They stopped the diarrhea in its tracks! ~

  25. NH
    Reply

    I keep dried, unsweetened coconut on hand and eat some if and when I feel there is a need. It not only stops the diarrhea but growling and other complaints my intestines make. I like it better because I try to stay away from sugar. I have had trouble with nausea for about 4 months now and had forgotten about the coconut so I am going to try using it to see if I can get rid of this nausea. Thanks for the reminder. Try the coconut, even if you are skeptical. It can’t hurt you. I do not mix it with anything and it is kinda dry so be careful and chew it good.

  26. Greg
    Reply

    How much dried coconut do you ingest & what do you mix it with for the different maladies?

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