Diarrhea doesn’t let you remain sane, you are just afraid of all those signals that will force you to go to the toilet again to excrete the loose watery stool. You are just too weak to do anything. Not only this, your abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, nausea and that feeling of urgency every time just makes your life miserable. In such a situation, what you need is to get rid of diarrhea as soon as possible to bring back your normal life back to you. When there were no pills and other medications available then also your granny and even great grandma had battled this diarrhea for her family members. Here are such some home remedies for diarrhea from the age-old traditions from around the world.
1. Keep your body hydrated while replacing lost minerals
When you suffer from diarrhea, your body cannot retain the water that you provide to it. Not only there is fluid loss, there is loss of essential minerals too such as sodium, potassium and chloride, called electrolyte, that are critical for your body’s functioning. Therefore you need to replace the fluid and minerals that you lose due to the frequent watery stools. While you can always buy rehydration solutions with electrolyte replacement formula, you can also make one at home.
You will need:
• Water- 1 litre
• Salt- ½ tsp
• Sugar- 4 tsp
• Lemon juice- few drops
• Add salt, sugar and lemon juice to the water.
• Mix well till the sugar granules get dissolved in the water.
• Sip this liquid frequently in small amounts throughout the day.
Remember that this is a home remedy to make up for the lost fluid and minerals of your body and not exactly for stopping your loose motions. You need to use other home remedies too for that. For keeping your body hydrated, you may also take other liquids during the day. These may be clear soups, chicken broth, buttermilk, fruit juices other than those that have laxative effects such as apple juice or prune juice (don’t have these juices).
2. Have yogurt to help grow friendly bacteria
One of the causes of diarrhea is the increased number of harmful bacteria in your intestine. Sufficient amount of friendly bacteria in your system is the key to good bowel movements. So, when you are suffering from diarrhea, you need to replenish good bacteria in your intestinal tract. Yogurt is one of the traditional foods that has been used since ages in many parts of the world for treating diarrhea by introducing beneficial bacteria in the body. A study conducted at a New York hospital has found that 1/3 and 1/2 cup of ordinary yogurt can treat severe infant diarrhea twice as fast as some of the drugs meant for diarrhea. In fact, the hospitals in Russia, Japan, and Italy regularly administer yogurt to patients for treating diarrhea. Yougurt, thus can treat your diarrhea within a short span of time. However, ensure that you eat yogurt with live cultures and not the pasteurized one because they do not contain the beneficial bacteria. Probiotic yogurt is also beneficial for you especialy when you suffer from diarrhea due to certain antibiotics. You may even make your plain yogurt more effective to treat your diarrhea by adding certain spices to it. Here’s the recipe for that.
You will need: equal quantities of
• Cumin seeds
• Fenugreek seeds
• Plain yogurt (may take cultered or probiotic yogurt)- 1 bowl
• Roast the cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds.
• Grind these roasted spices to get their powder.
• Take the bowl of yogurt and add 4 tsp of this roasted powdered spice to it.
• Mix well.
• Have this yogurt.
Have such a bowl of spiced yogurt thrice a day till the time you get rid of your diarrhea completely which should not be more than a couple of days.
3. Avoid dairy products and certain other foods
When your digestive system is in such a delicate situation that it cannot even absorb water, you need to eat and drink very carefully. You should only have those foods that will help your diarrhea to go away and avoid any other food that may aggravate the already irritable bowel movement. First of all, you should totally stop having milk and other dairy products including cheese, butter etc. However, as you have read in the earlier remedy, yogurt, also derived from milk is beneficial for your digestive system so you should have it in more quantities as well as buttermilk which too is beneficial for you. You should also avoid high fiber food having lots of roughage as it may stress your already weak digestion and make your diarrhea worse. While a little amount of sugar in your rehydralyting drink is all right but more quantities of sugar can deteriorate your diarrhea. Here is a list of foods and drinks that you must avoid while suffering from diarrhea.
• Foods or drinks with high content of sugar including sugary fruits
• Oily and fatty food
• Cold liquids
• Fruit juices (higher amounts of fructose is hard to digest)
• Apple juice, prune juice (they have laxative effect)
• Foods rich in roughage like beans, cabbage or Brussels sprouts.
• Fiber rich food like oatmeal
• Caffeinated beverages
• Spicy foods
Apart from avoiding all such foods,you should also avoid physical exertion. These include exercise, sexual activity, sports, dancing etc. Take rest until your weakness is gone and you have gained enough energy and strength.
4. Oregon grape root and other herbs for chronic diarrhea
There are certain herbs like Oregon grape root and golden seal that have berberine in them. Berberine is an antimicrobial which is thought to be an effective remedy against certain food-borne bacteria as well certain alkaloids. They also help in reducing colon secretion which is important for restricting diarrhea. You may also add geranium and red raspberry leaves to oregon grape root. These herbs have astringent properties useful for treating diarrhea as they help in contracting colon and slow down the passage of stool. This helps in lesser loss of water and minerals from your body. However, these herbs are only recommended for very serious cases of diarrhea. Also, you should take it under guidance of professional practitioner who can guide you about the quantities of such tea and tincture. Here is one recipe for Oregon grape root concoction that also have other herbs beneficial for diarrhea.
You will need:
• Oregon grape root- 2 tsp
• Dried bilberry leaves (don’t take fresh ones) or geranium or red raspberry- 1 tsp
• garlic cloves- 1-2 cloves
• Chamomile- ½ tsp
• water- 2 cups
• Boil the water.
• Add Oregon grape root and reduce the flame to simmer it for 10 minutes.
• After 10 minutes, put off the flame and add the remaining ingredients.
• Let it steep for 10-15 minutes.
• Have it warm. Don’t let it get cold.
5. Have Digestion friendly BRAT, then CRAM Diet
First have BRAT diet and when your diarrhea severity starts subsiding, switch to CRAM diet. What you eat and what you don’t eat is of utmost importance when suffering from any gastrointestinal issues including diarrhea. BRAT which stands for Banana, Rice, Apple sauce and Toast is good for you because these foods are bland and extremly low in dietary fiber. At the same time, they provide your body with the essential energy, without stressing your gastrointestinal tract, which it needs to function. However, this is not a substitute for oral rehydration solution (that we talked about in the first remedy) but complimentary to it. How does BRAT diet do all this? Let’s know.
- B for Banana- gives you potassium, the mineral which controls the fluid balance in your body.
- R for Rice– boiled rice, the low-fiber carbohydrate gives energy without irritating your bowel.
- A for Apple sauce– has the component pectin, a soluble fiber which soaks the excess fluid in your intestine to slow down stool passage.
- T for Toast– again, like rice, is low fiber carbohydrate to provide you with essential energy needed by your body without stressing your bowel movement. Toast in BRAT diet means plain toast, without butter or jam or jelly. Yes you can have it with apple sauce though!
The ideal thing to do is to make it a BRATY diet by adding ‘Y for Yogurt’ to help grow friendly bacteria in your intestine. Sometimes, it is also converted to BRATT diet with an extra ‘T for Tea.’ A mild tea prepared with black tea leaves and without milk in it has also been used as a traditional remedy for fluid replenishment during diarrhea. While water in tea helps with rehydration, the astringent tannins of tea help in reducing intestinal inflammation.
Once your intestine is strong enough to bear a little more pressure, you should switch to a CRAM diet because BRAT diet lacks in essential protein and fats. Using BRAT diet for longer can adversely affect your body due to lack of protein and fat. So, adopt CRAM diet as soon as possible. CRAM stands for Cereal, Rice, Apple sauce, and Milk. In fact, certain researches in hospitals in Asia and South America, establish CRAM diet as a more effective remedy as compared to the traditional BRAT diet. These studies have validated the usage of cereals, rice and milk as a stop-gap diet plan for upset stomach including one that you experience during diarrhea.