Over a thousand years ago in China, an ancient researcher and healer named Ge Hong treated diarrhea with “yellow soup,” and it worked! The soup was made of human poop, and the approach later came to the West, where it is now known as fecal microbiota transplant (FMT). Today, the therapy is used to combat persistent Clostridium difficile infections, which lead to uncontrolled diarrhea and abdominal aches serious enough to impact quality of life and bring deadly complications.
The problem with modern antibiotics is their inability to discriminate between healthy and harmful bacteria, causing them to eliminate both when combatting an infection. With FMT, a patient gets a healthy dose of good gut bacteria and builds up a stronger defense against C. difficile. Modern medicine has practiced poop therapy since the 1980s, but lo and behold, people no longer have to slurp it from a bowl (gross). Doctors now administer the treatment either straight to the colon through colonoscopy, an enema, or ingested as a safe, sterile pill.