Rice water and diarrhea ( 粥水治腹泻 )

I received an email today and it reminds me of the cure / treatment / remedy  recommended by a doctor (yes, a medical doctor) when I was a kid many many years back. It is about using cooked rice water to treat diarrhea.

Below is a portion of the article :

 

Rice water and diarrhoea 

diarrhea

The advantage of using rice water is that rice is cooked daily in South East Asia.
WHO photograph by Dr Gramiccia  

In South East Asia, rice is prepared in two ways – to produce either dry, cooked rice or, with extra water, rice porridge. This leaves a fluid (rice water) on top of the cooked rice grains.

Professor Wong Hock Boon, a paediatrician working in Singapore, has been using rice water to rehydrate babies for several years. If the babies are bottle-fed rice water is given exclusively for the first 24 hours of treatment – breastfeeding can continue as normal (1). Professor Wong and his colleagues have found that many babies who have not responded to other rehydration solutions respond well to rice water. If diarrhoea starts again with the re-introduction of milk, extra rice water is given with additional rice porridge. Older babies are sometimes given rice porridge alone.

The means by which rice water helps to stop diarrhoea are still being researched. One explanation could be that starch-like sugars tend to draw less fluid out of the body and into the gut compared with a similar amount of simple sugar such as glucose. Some babies with diarrhoea can digest starch more easily than simple sugars. The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B) is carrying out studies on the inclusion of locally available starches (such as rice starch) as the carbohydrate in oral rehydration solution.

As Professor Wong stresses, the advantage of using rice water is that rice is cooked daily in South East Asia. The rice water is boiled and does not have to be made up and kept in large quantities as is frequently the case with sugar-salt rehydration solutions.

If you would like more information about the use of rice water for rehydration, write to: Professor Wong Hock Boon, National University of Singapore, University Department of Paediatrics, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, Singapore.

For information on ICDDR, B’s work on locally available starches, write to: Library and Publication Unit, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, G.P.O. Box 128, Dacca-2, Bangladesh.

(1) Wong H B 1981 Rice water in treatment of infantile gastroenteritis. The Lancet vol 2: 102-103.

Read the full article HERE.

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