As unpleasant as it is to experience, a bout of diarrhea can serve an important purpose. Diarrhea is one of the body’s methods of getting rid of undesirable substances. It is characterized by loose, watery stools.
Common causes of diarrhea are a viral or bacterial infection, consumption of contaminated food or water, a food allergy, excessive drinking, stress and anxiety, or side effects of some medications.
When suffering from diarrhea, you may also experience symptoms such as frequent bowel movements, vomiting, stomach pain, thirst, fever, nausea, loss of appetite and dehydration. Diarrhea can be acute, lasting one or two weeks, or chronic, continuing for longer than two or three weeks.
The above diagram of the gastrointestinal tract will help you understand diarrhea better. Diarrhea occurs when more fluid passes through the large intestine (colon) than it can absorb. Normally, the colon can absorb several times more fluid than is required on a daily basis.
When bacteria, parasites, or viruses enter the intestine through food or water, they attack the lining of the digestive system and damage it, making it unable to absorb fluid from bowel contents. This in turn causes the bowel contents to move through the digestive system too quickly, resulting in diarrhea.
Both acute and chronic diarrhea can greatly affect your day-to-day activities. To get rid of the symptoms associated with diarrhea, you can try some simple home cures.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for diarrhea.
1. Fenugreek Seeds
Due to the high mucilage content present in fenugreek seeds, they are considered a useful natural cure for diarrhea. Fenugreek seeds will bulk up your stool and thereby significantly improve the severity and discomfort of diarrhea.
- Swallow one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds along with one tablespoon of yogurt.
- Another option is to mix one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and one tablespoon of roasted cumin seeds in two tablespoons of yogurt. Eat it two or three times a day.
NOTE: Remedies with fenugreek seeds are not suitable for small children suffering from acute or chronic diarrhea.
As ginger is simply good for your overall digestive health, it is always a good option for treating diarrhea.
- Mix one teaspoon each of dried ginger powder, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, and honey. Consume it three times a day.
- You can use dry ginger or fresh ginger to make a cup of ginger tea as well. Drinking ginger tea two or three times a day will help ease cramps and abdominal pain that sometimes accompany diarrhea.
- Another option is to mix equal amounts of ginger juice and lemon juice and add some crushed pepper to it. Have this solution at least three times a day to get rid of diarrhea quickly.
- You can also take ginger in capsule form or try foods such as gingersnap cookies, gingerbread, or ginger ale.
NOTE: Those suffering from high blood pressure should not use ginger remedies for diarrhea.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that help fight diarrhea caused by bacteria. Moreover, it contains pectin that acts as a protective coating and soothes intestinal spasms.
- Mix one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.
- Drink it two times a day until your condition improves.
Bananas can also help solve the problem of watery stools. The pectin present in bananas is a kind of soluble fiber that helps absorb liquid in the intestines, thereby reducing the amount of liquid in the stools.
At the same time, the high level of potassium present in bananas helps replace electrolytes that may be lost while experiencing diarrhea.
- Mash one ripe banana and add one teaspoon of tamarind pulp and a pinch of salt to it. Mix it well. Eat this mixture twice daily to settle an upset digestive system.
- It is always a good idea to have one or two ripe bananas with your breakfast to maintain digestive health.
Eating yogurt that contains ‘live cultures’ is another effective way to help your body recover from diarrhea. ‘Live cultures’ are gut-friendly bacteria that provide a layer of protection in the intestines and help generate lactic acid to flush bacterial toxins out of the body.
Simply eat the yogurt as it is or you can make a smoothie with it. You can eat this yogurt several times a day. Health experts say that you should not have dairy products until your stomach and digestive system calms down, as they can worsen your condition. However, yogurt is an exception.
Chamomile is often used to treat various intestinal problems, including diarrhea. The antispasmodic property along with the high amount of tannins present in chamomile can provide great relief from diarrhea symptoms.
- Put one teaspoon of chamomile flowers and one teaspoon of peppermint leaves in a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for about 15 minutes. Drink this herbal tea at least three times a day to speed up the healing process.
- You can also make chamomile tea using pre-packaged tea bags.
Blueberries contain elements called anthocyanosides, which have antibacterial as well as antioxidant properties. Blueberries also contain a high amount of soluble-fiber pectin that can help ease diarrhea symptoms.
- The best option is to chew dried blueberries several times a day. This will help kill the germs causing the diarrhea.
- You can also make tea by boiling crushed dried blueberries in one cup of water for about 10 minutes. Drink this tea several times a day.
- You can also make soup with dried blueberries.
8. Orange Peel Tea
Orange peel tea is another home remedy that can help control symptoms associated with diarrhea and aid the digestive process.
- First wash the orange thoroughly to remove any pesticides that may be on the peel. Then remove the peel and gently chop it.
- Put the chopped peel in one-half cup of boiling water and let it steep for some time. When it has cooled, add some honey or sugar to sweeten it.
- Drink this tea two or three times a day.
Potatoes are another starchy food that can be used to combat diarrhea.
- Frequently eating plain, boiled potatoes will help restore lost nutrients and comfort your upset stomach.
- Another option is to cook white rice and potatoes together in plenty of water until it becomes thick in consistency. Add a little salt and eat it. You can have this simple dish for lunch or dinner.
When suffering from diarrhea, do not eat French fries or other fried and spicy potatoes because they can make your condition worse.
10. White Rice
White rice is an excellent bland food recommended for diarrhea. It is high in starch and easy to digest. So, you can have plain boiled white rice but without any spices or sauces. Start by having small amounts of rice and gradually increase the amount as your condition improves.
In addition, drink plenty of water. You can also have clear fluids and starchy liquids such as rice water, coconut water, fruit and vegetable juices, and clear broths.
For most people, one or more of these remedies will provide relief from various symptoms of diarrhea. However, if your condition persists or gets worse, consult a doctor.