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Research Supports Coconut Remedy to Stop Diarrhea

Readers relate success with the coconut remedy for diarrhea. Scientists have found that virgin coconut oil is active against C diff bacteria.
Research Supports Coconut Remedy to Stop Diarrhea
Coconut oil on a bamboo mat

Have you heard of eating coconut cookies to control a bout of diarrhea? Here’s the story behind this coconut remedy.

Coconut Remedy for Chronic Diarrhea:

Q. My husband suffered with diarrhea for many years. We had not found anything that helped much until we read about coconut macaroon cookies on your website. He was willing to try them, and he found they helped.

He got tired of the cookies over the holidays and switched to coconut candy. That seemed to work just as well. Later he tried a piece of coconut cream pie and found that also stopped the diarrhea. So we concluded that coconut is the magic ingredient.

How We Learned About the Coconut Remedy:

A. More than 20 years ago, Donald Agar wrote to us with this fascinating story:

“I have had Crohn’s disease for 40 years, and during that time I have had a never-ending battle with diarrhea. Lomotil helps some, but it doesn’t eliminate the problem.

“Three months ago, I bought a box of Archway Coconut Macaroon cookies. I’ve been eating two a day and I have not experienced diarrhea in that time. If by chance I eat three in a day, I get constipated. Believe me, I have a new life now.

“My brother-in-law has a friend who just had cancer and suffered diarrhea as a consequence of the operation. We told him about the cookies and they corrected his diarrhea. I would be delighted if others were helped by my discovery, too.”

Since then, many other readers have written to us to report benefit from consuming coconut in some form or another. Sadly, Donald Agar is now deceased, but during his lifetime he knew how much people appreciated him sharing his discovery.

Scientific Support for the Coconut Remedy:

Just last year, researchers reported that the lauric acid in coconuts is effective against diarrhea caused by C. diff infections (Yang et al, Frontiers in Microbiology, Jan. 17, 2018). Earlier research had shown that virgin coconut oil has antimicrobial activity against Clostridium difficile bacteria that cause C diff (Shilling et al, Journal of Medicinal Food, Dec. 2013). We can’t explain how coconut works against diarrhea caused by Crohn’s disease, however. 

There is more information about the coconut remedy and other ways to control diarrhea in our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies: Q&As for Your Common Ailments.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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