Coconut cookies calm diarrhea

Q. After months of daily diarrhea, my teenage son just underwent biopsies and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Gluten can sometimes be irritating for people with Crohn’s, so we are trying to avoid it in his diet. That means we can’t use store-bought coconut macaroons, though we read in your column that they could help calm diarrhea.

I have modified the recipe on the package of coconut to make him macaroons. He’s been eating them for the past couple of weeks, and the constant diarrhea has subsided. Best of all, he is starting to gain back some of the weight that he lost.

Here’s my recipe: Mix 6 tablespoons sweet rice flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 4 egg whites, one 14-ounce package of shredded coconut and 1/3 cup chocolate chips. Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees until the tops turn light brown, about 15 or 20 minutes.

A. Thanks for sharing your remedy. It sounds delicious. Many people with the inflammatory digestive-tract disease known as Crohn’s suffer from chronic diarrhea. In fact, we first learned about coconut macaroon cookies for this problem from Donald Agar, a Crohn’s patient. He discovered the benefits for himself and notified us so we could alert others. He found that two macaroon cookies daily controlled his diarrhea.

Q. I read that turmeric could help relieve muscle pain, so I began taking three capsules each day for my fibromyalgia. The pain has eased somewhat, but the greatest benefit was that the neuropathy in my feet has almost entirely disappeared. After two weeks, I urged my sister, 10 years younger than me and with a much more severe neuropathy problem, to try it. She began taking turmeric and is now almost completely pain-free.

A. Neuropathy can manifest as numbness, tingling or pain in hands or feet. This kind of nerve disorder is notoriously hard to treat. Turmeric has long been used in the traditional medical systems of Asia. Malaysian scientists confirmed last year that an extract of this bright-yellow spice could quell nerve-related pain in rodents (Molecules, April 22, 2010). The anti-inflammatory activity of turmeric also may provide benefit.

Q. Thanks for writing about ginger tea for colds. I’ve been fighting a bad cold for several days. When I read about this, I used a potato peeler to cut thin slices of ginger. I put them in a cup of water and stuck it in the microwave. After two minutes, I added a little sugar. My congestion felt better even before I finished the drink.

A. We are big fans of ginger tea for congestion. Your approach sounds simple and tasty. Ginger does not have the side effects found with many over-the-counter cold-symptom relievers.

We are sending you our Guide to Colds, Coughs and Flu. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. Q-20, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website:

2011 King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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