The People's Perspective on Medicine

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.

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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Since I have many bowel problems, I bought the virgin coconut oil, hoping it might help. However, I discovered it contains 65% saturated fat in one tablespoon. Now I am afraid to use it.

I had colon cancer 10 years ago. I had surgery ,they removed the secum. I did not have chemo or any added treatment. They told me at the time I would never need another colonoscopy. I had diarrhea for about four months, ran tests and had to have a colonoscopy. Result:colloidal colitis. I am on 90 mg of a steroid for 8 weeks, 60 for two weeks, 30 for 2weeks. I am on the 4th week of the steroid thing, and still have the diarrhea!! I am going to eat the macaroons and use coconut oil in everything I can hoping thatbwill help. I lost 30 lbs in the beginning of the diarrhea but have not lost more. I read all of the emails you send me. Thank you so much.

My experience with coconut oil is good, however if I take more than my body can tolerate, I end up with diarrhea neverthess. I have IBS, and take coconut oil, 1 tablespoon daily, and all is good! However, if I overdose, well…you just have to experiment, coconut oil has been my saviour!

Would seem that shredded coconut or fresh coconut should also have the same effect? Curious if anyone has ever tried this with a pet with Diarrhea?? Have to take a look to see if Coconut is safe for Dogs and Cats

We have received reports from people who have given their dogs coconut for diarrhea. Although coconut is not toxic to dogs, it makes sense to check with the vet first. Also, we couldn’t find definitive info on whether or not cats can eat coconut.

I have a spastic colon, not any of those bacterial caused problems, as far as I know. Mine arose originally from inflammation from milk protein and coffee. I am going to try virgin coconut oil (providing I can find it) to see if it helps.

While Coconut cookies help many with combating diarrhea , I find that peppermint tea really helps when I drink two cups a day. Yes, let’s all help each other when we find something that helps. And thank you for doing just that.

Can drinking coconut water and eating small amounts of coconut make elimination more difficult? It’s 4 am, and I’ve been awake for an hour waiting for something to happen? That happens from time to time, and I never thought that the coconut I use (like this evening) to prevent minor digestive distress could be the cause.

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