A new study has now confirmed an ancient myth that coco bean can be used to treat diarrhea following the finding that it contains certain chemicals that can limit the development of fluids that cause diarrhea.
The use of cocoa to treat diarrhea dates back to as early as 16th century by ancient South American and European cultures. Until now, very little has been known regarding the qualities of the cocoa bean or more specifically why it has been used in the treatment of diarrhea.
It is believed that cocoa beans contain a large amount of chemicals called flavonoids that can be used to create natural supplements to ease diarrhea symptoms. Dark chocolate in particular has high concentrations of cocoa and may offer mild relief.
Scientists involved in the study have been testing the cocoa extract and flavonoids in cell cultures that mimic the lining of the intestine. All the experiments were associated with lower fluid levels. It has now been scientifically established that cocoa flavonoids can bind to and inhibit a protein called CFTR, which regulates fluid secretion in the small intestines.
Children younger than the age of five and the elderly are the most likely to develop grave health problems if their condition leads to dehydration. In severe cases children or elderly patients with diarrhea can die from dehydration within a few days.
The finding could ultimately lead to the development of natural treatments that are inexpensive, easy to access and are unlikely to have side effects.