Another unglamorous topic, diarrhea is the result of the digestive system trying to expel a toxin, usually a bacteria or virus, or can also be a reaction to a certain type of food that the body has trouble digesting. Secreting extra fluid and producing strong intestinal contractions are the digestive system’s methods for extracting the toxin. Unfortunately, this can leave us feeling rather, well, poopy.
While it may be tempting to take over-the-counter diarrhea medication, suppressing your body’s natural elimination system will force it to find another way to remove the toxin. Often, letting your body work naturally is the best method and the fastest way to recovery. Symptoms will usually run their course over a day or two. During that time, it’s important to take extra care of your body as its needs will be different. To help relieve diarrhea, make yourself more comfortable and maintain optimum health during this time, try these natural home remedies for diarrhea.
Natural Home Remedies for Diarrhea
Eat right. If you’re suffering from diarrhea, it’s best to avoid solid foods for a while to help your digestive system flush the toxin out faster. Try liquid food like broth and watered down fruit and vegetable juices or easy-to-digest food like rice, noodles, soda crackers and cooked low-fiber vegetables. Try foods like apples, bananas, carrots and potatoes, which all contain pectin, a gentle binding agent. Avoid dairy products like milk and cheese as these are hard on the intestines, which won’t be functioning as well as they normally do. Likewise, avoid sugar, which can increase diarrhea, and high-fiber foods, which are harder to digest.
Stay hydrated. Your digestive track will be flushing a lot of water—and valuable vitamins and minerals—out of your body, so it’s important to replenish what you’re losing. Up your intake of water, and supplement with the occasional electrolyte replacement drink. Drink your beverages cool, which is less irritating on the stomach, and avoid caffeinated beverages, which stimulate the digestive track.
Take a probiotic supplement. Studies have shown that probiotics are effective at providing diarrhea relief, especially when the diarrhea is antibiotic-related. Additionally, probiotics protect intestinal cells from E. coli and prevent the bacteria from invading the body. Try taking a supplement containing 4 billion active organisms twice daily or eating yogurt with active cultures. Yogurt can help produce lactic acid in your intestines, which can help kill of bacteria. The studies show that the earlier you take antibiotics, the less severe the diarrhea symptoms.
Drink ginger tea. Ginger is beneficial for almost all digestive-related issues, including diarrhea. Ginger can calm inflammation in the intestines. Try drinking a cup of fresh ginger tea, or take 500 mg in capsule form or 2 mL of tincture every two hours.
Soothe and reduce inflammation with herbal remedies. Herbs such as chamomile, marshmallow root and slippery elm can help soothe the intestines and digestive track. Chamomile is best taken as a tea; steep one teaspoon of the root in hot water for five to 10 minutes to create a tea. Marshmallow can be taken as a capsule (500 mg) or a tincture (3 mL) three times daily. Slippery elm works as a tea (drink three to four cups a day) or taken three times daily in capsule form (500 mg) or tincture form (5 mL).
Try infection-fighting plants. Plants containing berberine, such as goldenseal, barberry and Oregon grape, can help fight the infection causing diarrhea. Try taking 250 to 500 mg of any of these herbs three times daily.