From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mucoid plaque or mucoid rope is an alleged thick coating of mucus-like material claimed to exist in the alimentary canals of most normal people. There is no mention of it in the medical literature, it is only found as a form of feces produced primarily by consumers of bowel-cleansing products based on psyllium seed husks (a gelling agent) and bentonite clay, and not by persons uninvolved with bowel cleansing practices. Supporters assert that doctors aren't trained to recognize it or use other names for it. It has been used in urban myths  and is a phenomenon widely believed within holistic health circles. 
A non-medical concept invented by naturopath Richard Anderson N.D. N.M.D:
- "I coined the term mucoid plaque, meaning a film of mucus, to describe the unhealthy accumulation of abnormal mucous matter on the walls of the intestines. Conventional medicine knows this as a layering of mucin or glycoproteins (made up of 20 amino acids and 50% carbohydrates) which are naturally and appropriately secreted by intestines as protection from acids and toxins." (What is Mucoid Plaque?, by Richard Anderson)
The role of the colon is to absorb water and nutrients. A limited amount of bacterial fermentation and absorption of other substances goes on, but the suggestion that thickening the lining of the colon would inhibit digestion is unsupported by medical evidence. The experience of those whose colon does not absorb (eg those with ulcerative colitis) is of drastic diarrhoea as the volume passing through is not diminished sufficiently.
Richard Anderson claims that “clinical and anatomical studies from many papers and textbooks have demonstrated that mucoid plaque exists in the alimentary canal” (Anderson 60). As an example, he points to a reference to the gastric mucosa in the 7th edition of Textbook of Medical Physiology by A.C. Guyton, suggesting that this applies to the colon as well. 
A search of the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database does not return any research that uses the term at all, or in this way. It is a concept foreign to medicine and more specifically gastroenterology. This is the natural result of the fact that gastroenterologists, pathologists, coroners, and medical students doing dissections, operations, and autopsy ies do not encounter it.
Anderson explains this absence of any description of this alleged condition by surgeons, gastroenterologists and anatomists by claiming that medical doctors are not trained to recognize the difference between mucoid plaque and the normal mucosa. “Until the mucoid plaque begins to mix with fecal matter, its color and texture may appear similar to healthy bowel mucosa,” he says (Anderson 66; 88). In his book, Richard Anderson cites numerous conventional scientific sources referring to intestinal mucus and claims they support his assertion (Anderson 59). None of them mention mucoid plaque.
A major objection is that this concept has never been described in the major medical journals, i.e. New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Gastroenterology, et cetera.
Edward Uthman, M.D., a practicing pathologist and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Texas School of Medicine, has said on the basis of never having seen it in several thousand intestinal biopsies: "This is a complete fabrication with no anatomic basis."
Another practicing pathologist, Ed Friedlander, M.D., at Brown University, states, "As a pathologist, I have opened hundreds of colons and never seen anything like ‘toxic bowel settlement’." Furthermore, in reference to those pictures of mucoid plaque he says, "Sites they have shared include one depicting what I recognize to be a blood clot."
Advertisements for some products marketed to cleanse the colon of mucoid plaque claim that an autopsy of John Wayne after his death from cancer revealed that the famous American actor had over 40 pounds of this plaque/fecal material accumulated in his colon. In fact, an autopsy was  never performed on John Wayne. Similar false claims are made about singer Elvis Presley. It is known that impaction of as little as a pound of fecal material will cause extreme pain and even bleeding. In 1994, an Israeli man sought medical attention because he was suffering from severe constipation two days after having eaten a large quantity of pomegranates. He refused to allow doctors to administer an enema, fled the hospital, and returned a week later in severe pain and bleeding from his rectum. This time the doctors operated to remove the impacted feces, which weighed half a kilogram or a little over a pound. Just one pound of impacted feces was causing extreme pain and rectal bleeding in this patient.
- ^ a b c Urban myth on snopes.com
- ^ Bowel Cleanse FAQ
- ^ Richard Anderson's books
- ^ Arise and Shine Herbal Products
- ^ Gastroenterology (journal)
- ^ Mucoid Plaque. Uthman, Edward
- ^ Ed’s Guide to Alternative Therapies: Colonics. Friedlander, Ed
- ^ "Pomegranate Feast Ends in Constipation." The Jerusalem Post 4 September 1994 (p. 2).