Natural and Home Remedies for Diarrhea

Diarrhea is defined as a condition in which feces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form.

Diarrhea is the body’s way of ridding itself of unwanted invaders and is usually beneficial. Diarrhea may last for several days, leaving the body dehydrated and lacking in necessary salts.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Some or all may be present

  • Loose, watery stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Bloody stool
  • Cramps
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Urgency to defecate
  • Vomiting

PREVALENCE

Mild cases of diarrhea are common enough and usually resolve without medical treatment. Acute cases, on the other hand are extremely dangerous and are responsible for one in nine child deaths worldwide (NCBI). Acute cases are more prevalent in countries where hygiene is poor and where food and water quality are poor.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Prevention would be with vaccination if caused by Rotavirus. Treatment may be over-the-counter medications or anti-diarrheal drugs (often harmful). A good doctor will advise on a proper diet and will advise use of oral rehydration therapy if needed.

SELF TREATMENT

The substances and suggestions here are offered to you for further research.  If you have an acute case of diarrhea, DO consult a doctor.

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and inflammation. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

When you are ill, you will need to make adjustments in diet whether your primary diet is good or ill.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Applesauce
  • Bland, soft foods while ill
  • Bone broth, salted
  • BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast)
  • Buttermilk
  • Ghee
  • Honey (but not for young children)
  • Porridge
  • Soda crackers if you are nauseated
  • White rice

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Alcohol
  • Antacid
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Citrus, and go easy on other fruits
  • Dairy
  • Fatty foods
  • Food additives
  • Foods that cause gas
  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods
  • Raw vegetables
  • Spicy foods

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Agave
  • Agrimony
  • Alfalfa
  • Allspice
  • Apple Cider Vinegar in water
  • Bayberry
  • Black walnut
  • Blackberry
  • Blackberry leaf
  • Boswellia
  • Caraway tea
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon
  • Comfrey
  • Coriander
  • Decaf tea
  • Dill
  • Dried pomegranate peel tea
  • Electrolyte enhanced water (low on sugar, please)
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Flaxseed
  • Ginger
  • Green tea
  • Kelp
  • Lady’s Mantle
  • Lemongrass
  • Marshmallow root
  • Mullein
  • Nettle
  • Orange peel tea
  • Oregano
  • Oregon grape
  • Peach leaf
  • Pepper
  • Peppermint
  • Raspberry
  • Red clover
  • Silverweed
  • Slippery elm
  • Sunflower leaf
  • Thyme
  • Vinegar water
  • White oak
  • White willow
  • Yarrow
  • Yellowroot

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Agrimony
  • Astragalus
  • Barberry
  • Carob
  • Echinacea
  • Fennel powder
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Ginger powder
  • Goldenseal
  • Nutmeg
  • Picrorhiza kurroa
  • Turmeric

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, mixed with a carrier oil (i.e. coconut, almond) and used topically, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath. You can try combinations of the oils below for a stomach massage.

  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Frankincense
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Peppermint
  • Tangerine
  • Tea tree
  • Thyme

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Acidophilus
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Garlic
  • Multivitamin
  • Probiotics
  • Psyllium
  • Turmeric
  • Vitamin E

HYDRATION

Hydration is especially important when you are losing fluids through watery stools and vomiting. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? You will want to add extra fluids during bouts of diarrhea or vomiting.

There are many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

Regular exercise strengthens the digestive tract and is beneficial for overall health. It may not be wise to exercise while you are suffering from diarrhea, however, as it diverts blood from your digestive system and may increase pain and delay recovery.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

When to consult a doctor:

  • Black stools
  • Bloody stools
  • Fever over 102°F
  • When you are dehydrated and home treatments don’t resolve it
  • You aren’t improving after a couple of days

Consult a pediatrician if your child is ill for more than 24 hours, or dehydrated, or has any of the above symptoms.

PREVENTION

  • A wholesome, balanced diet for healthy immunity
  • Avoid street food.
  • Be extra cautious in developing countries.
  • Breastfeed for the first six months of life (giving nothing else).
  • Cook food properly.
  • Do not leave foods out at room temperature if they require refrigeration.
  • Drink pure water.
  • Frequent hand washing
  • High standards of hygiene
  • Low stress levels
  • Quality sleep
  • Regular exercise
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables, including the tough outer skins before cutting.
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