Natural Remedies for Diarrhea

The discomfort of diarrhea can be embarrassing, but with any of these simple remedies you may soothe your bowels and speed your recovery.

| August 2016

  • Black tea may ease your stomach by soothing irritation in your body and rehydrating you throughout the day.
    Photo by Fotolia/schiros
  • “Home Remedies: An A-Z Guide of Quick and Easy Natural Cures” by Meredith Hale.
    Photo courtesy of Wellfleet Press

Throughout history, civilizations have compiled natural remedies for health and healing. But where should you begin sifting through this flood of possible solutions to solve the problem plaguing you? From supplements to herbs and plants to “kitchen cures” straight from your fridge and pantry, Meredith Hale’s book Home Remedies (Wellfleet Press, 2015) is a collection of the best cures for common ailments. Whether you’re plagued by fever, toothaches, insomnia, or anything in between, this book contains a comprehensive and unique list of natural fixes for your illness.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea refers to watery, loose bowel movements. It’s often caused by a virus and referred to as the “stomach flu”; however, other causes include bacterial infection, food allergies, side effects from medications, and more chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to loose stools, diarrhea can cause bloating, abdominal cramps, nausea, and a feeling of having to go — right now! Over-the- counter medications exist to treat diarrhea, or you can let it run its course, which may take two to three days. However, to soothe the symptoms and speed recovery naturally, try one of these simple approaches.

Black Tea

The tannins in tea help to reduce intestinal inflammation, and black tea can help to rehydrate you after a bout of diarrhea. Let the tea steep for fifteen minutes and drink as necessary to ease symptoms.

Blackberries

Like black tea, blackberries also contain astringent tannins that can ease the symptoms of diarrhea. You can buy blackberry tea or make your own by boiling 1 to 2 tablespoons of blackberries in 1-1⁄2 cups water for ten minutes and then straining. Or, you can pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried blackberry leaves. Steep for ten minutes and then strain.



Probiotics

If bacteria are to blame for your digestive troubles, probiotics can repopulate the digestive tract with “good” bacteria. Look for probiotic supplements, or add probiotic-containing foods such as kefir or yogurt (containing “live active cultures”) to your diet. Also add probiotics to your diet when taking antibiotics, to maintain the balance of bacteria in your digestive system.


The BRAT Diet

After diarrhea, it’s often a good idea to stick to bland, binding foods to help ease your way back to normal digestion. BRAT is an acronym for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are low-fiber, making for firmer stools; in addition, the potassium in bananas can help to replace lost nutrients. Follow this diet for the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after diarrhea, and then begin to re-introduce other foods into your meals.



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