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Therapeutic value of human faeces
  1. David Phizackerley
  1. DTB, BMJ Journals, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to David Phizackerley, DTB, BMJ Journals, London, UK; dphizackerley{at}

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The value and potential benefit of human excrement has long been recognised. In preindustrial Japan, it had an economic value and ‘night soil’, collected for use as a fertiliser, was almost worth its weight in gold.1 As a therapeutic intervention, records from China from the Dong-jin dynasty (4th century) report use of human faecal matter administered orally to treat food poisoning and severe diarrhoea.2 During part of the Ming dynasty (16th century), oral formulations of human faecal material that were used for treatment of abdominal diseases, were optimistically referred to as ‘yellow soup’.3 Since the middle of the last century there has been renewed interest in the therapeutic use of faecal material and in particular the effect of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) to treat gastrointestinal infections. More recently the focus has been on its role in restoring healthy microbial populations to provide protection against Clostridioides difficile infection.

DTB has followed the development of FMT …

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  • Competing interests None declared. Refer to the online supplementary files to view the ICMJE form(s).

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