See also: Traveler's Diarrhea


Diarrhea is characterized by frequent, watery bowel movements, often accompanied by stomach cramps, abdominal pain and gas. Diarrhea may be various colors and contain mucous, blood or pus. In general diarrhea is caused by a gastrointestinal problem, but may be a symptom of some underlying ailment such as: irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, bowel cancer, celiac disease, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, Crohn's disease, dysentery, AIDS or ulcerative colitis, among others. It is important, therefore, to discover the cause of the diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of Nature's defense systems used to help rid the body of toxins and poisons as quickly as possible.

It is important to know what diarrhea does to the body besides the obvious effects. The salivary glands in the mouth, the mucous membrane in your stomach, and the liver and pancreas produce saliva which is used in the digestive process to break down food. When diarrhea strikes the saliva is lost and the digestive process is interrupted. In addition, diarrhea depletes the body of important minerals, called electrolytes, needed for good health. They are: potassium, magnesium, chloride, sodium and calcium. Without these minerals you may feel weak, tired and depressed, have an abnormal heart rhythm, and become dehydrated. For these reasons it is important to drink plenty of fluids when you have a bout of diarrhea, especially those that can replenish your electrolyte balance. Your energy level will rebound quickly if you do. It is also important to eat a proper diet, as mentioned below, to regain proper digestion.

Other nutrients, as well, pass through the intestines without being absorbed into your system. Dehydration may result and makes diarrhea in infants and the elderly especially dangerous and should be taken very seriously. Oral rehydration fluids are available at pharmacies and grocery stores. Give them all they want, as the body will tell them what it needs. Two of the leading brands are Pedialyte and Rehydralyte.


• Bacteria in food or protozoa in water are often the cause, but other causes are viruses, parasites in food and other sources. Diarrhea caused by intestinal parasites is the third leading cause of illness. If you have a number of the following symptoms: gas, diarrhea, chronic constipation, bloating, fatigue, skin rashes, nail biting, mood swings, insomnia, dry skin, brittle hair, hair loss, weight gain, bad breath, and muscle cramping, you should be tested for parasites. 

Gastroenteritis, caused by a virus that has entered the digestive tract or contaminated food or water, causes inflammation, cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe cases can lead to dehydration, so be sure to drink fluids and balance your electrolytes (take Pedialyte for young children and the elderly, and sports drinks for everybody else.)

• Eating an excessive amount of fatty foods or fruit

• Food poisoning

• Extreme fatigue

• Stress or anxiety. What effects the mind ends up effecting the sympathetic stomach.

• Antibiotics and some prescription medications affect the bowels by killing the good bacteria along with the harmful bacteria. Take acidophilus or live culture yogurt while you are taking medication to help rebuild your intestinal flora. A probiotic remedy will be helpful.

• Still other causes are excessive consumption of alcohol, caffeinated drinks, coffee, and large quantities of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and magnesium. A good way to counteract diarrhea if you are taking large amounts of magnesium, is to supplement with acidophilus lactobacillus.

• Nutritional deficiencies.

• Consumption of sorbitol and mannitol, the sugar substitutes. And now to this list we are adding Splenda.

• The low-carb craze is very popular with those wanting to lose weight, but it has created other health problems: bloating, gas and diarrhea. Many low-carb foods are sweetened with lacitol or sorbitol, which are sugar alcohols, and, when, eaten in large quantities, can cause digestive disturbances.

• A study done at the University of Iowa medical found that 30 percent of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms had fructose (a form of sugar) on their breath, and were experiencing stomach pain, gas, or diarrhea. Once fructose consumption was curbed, the symptoms were significantly reduced. Fructose is found in many things, but especially as a sweetener for sodas. Fructose intolerance is rapidly rising due to the tremendous increase in soda consumption.

• Over-use of laxatives (excess magnesium in some antacids), and antacids containing magnesium hydroxide. Along these same lines is the magnesium in calcium/magnesium supplements that many women take for prevention of osteoporosis.

• Long term use or excessive amounts of aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen may also be a cause of diarrhea because they can have a dramatic affect on the digestive tract.

• Still other causes are putrefaction and excessive fermentation of food in the bowels.

• Improper chewing of food so that it doesn't get enough enzymes from saliva in the mouth needed for good digestion.

• For some people eating certain foods, such as apples, can cause diarrhea.

• Pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables is a cause that is often overlooked.

• Dishwashing detergent residue can be extremely irritating to the intestinal tract. Babies are especially susceptible to this problem because of the amount of residue compared to their body weight. Also, their intestinal tracts have not fully developed the digestive process. Be sure to thoroughly rinse all utensils and dishes, especially if you hand-wash them.

Underlying Disease As A Cause

• If you do not have a sudden bout of diarrhea and cannot identify the cause from those mentioned here, you may have one that is chronic due to some major underlying causes which you should discuss with your healthcare provider. Some of these are:

• Lactose intolerance (lack of enzymes to digest milk sugar) is another common cause.

• Gluten intolerance. You may not be able to tolerate certain foods that contain gluten (wheat, oats, rye and barley). See celiac disease below.

• Various types of bowel problems, such as bowel cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

• A hyperactive thyroid can also cause diarrhea.

• Food allergies are a very common cause of diarrhea. Proper testing will discover which one(s) you are allergic to. Eliminating the offending food may well stop the diarrhea. Have a blood test done or try an elimination diet to find out what is causing the diarrhea.

• Celiac disease. This is a disease where the person is allergic to gluten, a protein substance found in wheat, barley, oats and rye and, therefore, in a wide variety of foods. Many individuals with celiac disease are deficient in vitamin B-6 and magnesium. Magnesium is necessary to utilize vitamin B-6. Your doctor can test for gluten intolerance.

• A deficiency in niacin.

• A deficiency in folic acid.

If you have chronic diarrhea you may be suffering from malabsorption of food which may include deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and enzymes or have food allergies. You and your healthcare practitioner will have to correct the digestion problem or discover the source of your allergy in order to stop the diarrhea.

Many traditional doctors try to stop the diarrhea before it has done its job, and some of the remedies they use, such as the drug calomel, as well as castor oil, leave the patient constipated afterward.

Over-the-counter remedies to stop diarrhea are not recommended. Let Nature take her course and rid the body of the toxins that caused the problem; many doctors recommend doing nothing for 6 to 12 hours, then begin antidiarrheal remedies. However, if the diarrhea persists for two or three days, looks like black tar or there is blood in the stool, or if you have a fever, see your doctor.

If persistent, this type of diarrhea may be caused by parasites and should be treated by a doctor.

Traveler's Diarrhea


•  Buffets - here the food may stay out at room temperature for long periods and breed bacteria
•  Dairy products
•  Fruits and vegetables, unpeeled
•  Ice
•  Salads
•  Street food
•  Undercooked animal protein
•  Water, tap

Take a homeopathic remedy kit with you for traveler's diarrhea: podohyllum (the best remedy for acute diarrhea) and arsenicum (for food poisoning). See homeopathic remedy section below.



Acidophilus Take acidophilus with meals whenever you feel sanitation or water supply may be questionable. This will help build up the "friendly" bacteria in your intestines. Either a tablespoon of liquid or one to two capsules should do the trick. One good product is called Culturelle (a probiotic formula).

Apple cider vinegar For a preventive measure start taking a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of honey in a glass of water half an hour before each meal a few days before your trip. Continue this regimen during your trip.

Bismuth Subsalicylate The active ingredient found in Pepto-Bismol, bismuth subsalicylate, can be taken either after an attack or as a preventive measure. Be careful if you take aspirin regularly as Pepto-Bismol contains salicylates, which added to that in the aspirin may cause symptoms such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Grapefruit seed extract Another good preventive or treatment remedy for traveler's diarrhea is grapefruit seed extract. This extract is a powerful all-around antimicrobial product and is an excellent disinfectant. This extract is very bitter, so use tablets or capsules (take 3 capsules daily) instead of the liquid. If you do use the liquid, use five drops in a glass of water. Another helpful product to carry with you is activated charcoal which is explained in more detail below.

Lemon juice Drinking the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon in a large glass of water three to five times a day will kill off the pathogens causing the diarrhea. For prevention in case there is a stomach virus going around, take 1-2 tablespoons of juice before meals.

Loperamide hydrochloride For severe cases of diarrhea, Loperamide hydrochloride (the active ingredient of Imodium A-D) can be very helpful.

Powdered cow's milk carries antibodies of the E. coli bacteria that you may take to prevent getting Montezuma's revenge. Check with your health food store.

Wine Red or white wine (6 ounces is enough) contain polyphenols, an antibacterial agent.

Children & Diarrhea

Children with diarrhea should eat foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as bananas, crackers, noodles, oatmeal, potatoes, rice, toast, and soups with rice or noodles. Dairy products and foods high in sugar or fat should be avoided.

Wellness Plan

• Let the diarrhea run its course for 6-12 hours to rid the body of toxins.

• Keep from becoming dehydrated and losing important nutrients. Drink plenty of fluids, especially those that replenish your electrolytes (minerals), such as sports drinks and fresh juices. Avoid caffeinated or carbonated drinks.

• Replenish the nutrients that are being lost.

• Eat lightly and make the dietary changes recommended below.

• Take fiber to absorb excess fluid in the intestines.

• To complete the healing process and get your digestive system working properly it is necessary to rebuilt the intestinal flora. This is especially true after taking antibiotics which will have killed all the good bacteria in your intestines. Eating yogurt (with acidophilus) or taking acidophilus tablets or a good probiotic will restore your intestinal flora. Enhance the good bacteria by adding FOS supplements. FOS is a soluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables, and can be taken as a supplement. It will have acidophilus as well as other needed bacteria.

• As stools begin forming, reintroduce solid foods in small quantities. Begin with easy to digest foods, and take it easy for a few days so your system can get back to normal.

• Try one or more of the remedies recommended below.

Changes to Make


When diarrhea strikes you will need to make some immediate changes in your diet while you are taking one of the remedies mentioned below.

• Avoid solid foods! They are too hard to digest. You need to give your digestive system a rest.

• Don't eat refined carbohydrates until you have recovered.

• For the first day take clear soup and broth.

• Once you start eating, a bland diet of complex carbohydrates and no fat is recommended because it is easy to digest. Your digestive system is already fighting the cause of the diarrhea and can't easily digest other foods. Start with a BRAT diet - bananas, rice (or rice cereal with skim milk), apples (or applesauce) and toast (or tea). Potatoes and applesauce are also good.

• A short fast may help by giving the digestive system a chance to rebuild the bacterial flora needed for proper digestion. Rebuilt your intestinal flora by eating yogurt (with live cultures) or taking six to 12 acidophilus tablets. This won't work until you have stopped taking the antibiotics. Add FOS to this regimen, as mentioned above under "Recommended Wellness Plan." Take a probiotic, as mentioned above.

• Begin by avoiding all fruits except, bananas, blueberries and apples, all of which have bowel tightening qualities. Ripe bananas are recommended. Bananas are especially good as they are easily digested and have pectin and important nutrients such as potassium and magnesium. Pectin, a water-soluble fiber which can bind bile acids and cholesterol in the intestines, is found in many fruits, vegetables and seeds. Kaopectate, the over-the-counter antidiarrheal remedy, contains pectin. For proper digestion, chew the banana well and eat slowly. In addition, avoid raw vegetables, sweets, cooked cabbage and any other kind of food that may cause fermentation and flatulence.

• Eat cottage cheese and other mild cheeses, rolled oats, crisp bread, potatoes boiled in their skins, and brown rice. Eat raw rolled oats and chew them well to get the saliva going. Don't eat fruit and vegetables at the same meal. Chew everything thoroughly to get the digestive enzymes going again.

• Add fiber to your diet to absorb excess fluid in the intestines and help make firmer bowels. Bananas are one good source of fiber and potassium. Don't take fiber if you are vomiting and having diarrhea at the same time. See your doctor before using a home remedy.

• Stop taking supplements containing magnesium.

• Avoid diet foods, especially candy and gum, as they may be sweetened with sorbitol or mannitol, which can act as a laxative.

• Avoid fatty foods, beans or ones containing wheat.


Folic Acid Supplementation of folic acid is helpful for chronic diarrhea cases.

FOS Enhance the good bacteria by adding FOS supplements. FOS is a soluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables, and can be taken as a supplement. It will have acidophilus as well as other needed bacteria.

Lactobacillus As mentioned above take lactobacillus or a good probiotic to rebuild your intestinal flora. One product that has proven to be successful is Culturelle, a probiotic formula consisting of a new strain of bacteria called Lactobacillus G.G. It has demonstrated the ability to treat or prevent dangerous forms of childhood diarrhea, including Rotavirus, traveler's diarrhea, diarrhea caused by antibiotics, and colitis. Studies have shown that it increases antibody response and gut-related immune functions, protect against salmonella and clostridium, repairs alcohol-related liver damage, and suppresses adverse reactions in those sensitive to milk. Foods rich in unrefined carbohydrates and fiber will help the beneficial bacteria get reestablished in the intestines. It will take awhile for the intestines to begin functioning again, so do not rush in to your regular diet for several days after the diarrhea has stopped.

Magnesium is also a very important mineral that is lost and needs to be replaced. Take magnesium after the diarrhea has stopped for a few days. Too much magnesium may cause diarrhea, so start out with small doses.

MSM - methylsulfonylmethane - a natural organic sulphur, one of the essential structural minerals. It reduces inflammation and helps the digestive system work better. MSM has a soothing, healing influence on the mucous membrane that lines the GI tract.

Potassium is lost in large quantities with diarrhea, and is one of the most important minerals to replace.

Sodium may also be lost, and may cause mineral imbalances if not replaced.

Fluid Intake

One of the most important considerations to remember when you have diarrhea is to keep from becoming dehydrated. Dehydration is characterized by dry mouth and/or wrinkled skin. Ideally the body should have two quarts of liquid daily, and this certainly holds true for people with diarrhea. Fluid intake is especially necessary for infants, the elderly, and chronically ill people. Your electrolyte (mineral) balance is very important when you have diarrhea. You lose essential nutrients when you have diarrhea, such as potassium and magnesium, so it is necessary to replace them as quickly as possible.

• Drink fruit juice, or a glass of water with a teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon each of baking soda and salt added. Carrot and green juices are good electrolyte replacement drinks.

• For infants and adults, dissolve one teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt in a quart of water.

• Other remedies for rehydration include boiling rice with one teaspoon of salt and drinking the rice water. Similar remedies use water from cooked barley or oats, with a teaspoon of sugar added. Raw honey and lemon juice may be added to these beverages as a sweetener.

• Other fluids such as teas, clear soups and broths should be taken; herbal teas are good for soothing the intestines; lemonade, orangeade, apple (for some children apple juice makes diarrhea worse), carrot, tomato and fresh pineapple juices are good. For best results, drink the fluids at room temperature, as they are more easily assimilated.

• Milk fat has anti-infectious agents that help kill intestinal bacteria and can be very beneficial in cases of chronic diarrhea. Of course, do not use skim milk!

• Avoid caffeinated drinks because they can irritate the bowel.

• Avoid carbonated drinks as they can affect intestinal contractions and make diarrhea worse.

• Avoid alcohol.

• Avoid cold drinks. Digestion is aided by warmth.

• Avoid dairy products, except the cultured ones mentioned above.

Lifestyle changes

Learn to manage the stress and anxiety that is causing your diarrhea. Yoga, meditation, hypnotism, biofeedback and other tension releasing techniques may be useful. Start an exercise program.



Apple cider vinegar Try 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water with each meal and at mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and at bedtime. Another variation is to give children 2 teaspoons every two hours. This remedy can be used for children as young as three years of age. The vinegar acts as a natural antiseptic and helps cleanse the intestines and entire digestive tract. It also contains pectin which will add bulk to the stools. The pectin also is effective against certain types of bacteria that cause diarrhea.

Apples For some people apples cause stomach problems. For others they can be a cure. Grate an apple and let it stand at room temperature for several hours until well darkened. The oxidized pectin will help stop the diarrhea. Give children, especially babies, finely grated apples, followed by oatmeal porridge. Older children and adults can take oat flakes (or rolled oats) raw, chewing thoroughly, with nothing else to eat for a few hours.

Bee pollen Take bee pollen several times a day. It contains nearly all the minerals and trace elements needed in the diet.

Blackberry Put 1 teaspoon of allspice in a cheesecloth bag and simmer it in unsweetened blackberry juice for a few minutes. For children give them a teaspoonful every four hours. Larger doses for adults. Several tablespoons of fresh or frozen blackberries work well, too, as does blackberry juice or wine.

Black pepper and kelp This is a good remedy for diarrhea caused by unpurified water. Boil water and cool. Add 3 teaspoons of black pepper and 11/2 teaspoon of kelp to 2 cups of water. Repeat as often as necessary.

Blueberries A compound found in blueberries effectively fights the bacteria that causes most cases of diarrhea. Eating one cup of fresh blueberries should do the trick.

Bran Add one tablespoon of unprocessed bran daily to your diet. Don't use the kind sold as breakfast cereal, as it has been processed. It can be taken with liquids or mixed with a variety of foods, depending on taste. It works because it absorbs eight times its own weight and will soak up the excess fluids in the intestines. Your stools should soon return to normal.

Carob flour/powder Carob flour is very rich in pectin, a binding substance, and tannins, which have an anti-viral effect, and is very helpful in normalizing bowels. Carob flour/powder is very beneficial for babies' diarrhea. Mix with formula or food.

Carrots Boil carrots, then puree. Take 1 teaspoon every 15 minutes.

Carrot juice The essential oils in carrot juice have an effect on the mucous membranes in the stomach. Take juice several times daily to help regain proper digestion. The juice is good for children, too, and should stop diarrhea attacks quickly.

Carrot soup with carob This has been used effectively in children suffering from diarrhea caused by E. Coli bacteria.

Charcoal Take activated charcoal or white clay to absorb toxins in the system. Actually, activated charcoal is a powerful adsorbent, which is a substance that attracts things to its surface, as opposed to absorbing them into itself. Charcoal will stop the diarrhea quickly by adsorbing the toxins that are causing the problem. NB: Activated charcoal is not for everyday use as it adsorbs important vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy. If you can't find activated charcoal, try burning a piece or two of white toast. Scrape the burned part into a cup of boiling water and drink.

Coke/espresso Make a drink using 1/2 of each. Drink several times a day.

Cottage cheese and sour cream Combine two tablespoons of each and eat the mixture three or four times a day.

Garlic Chew raw garlic or take up to ten garlic oil capsules daily to kill bacteria. This remedy is good when you are travelling.

Honey Mix thoroughly 4 tablespoons of honey with 8 ounces of water. This is a good remedy for bacteria-caused diarrhea. Smaller quantities can be used for infants. Diabetics should be careful about taking so much honey at one time.

Lime juice Fresh lime juice added to a little hot water will quickly stop diarrhea in infants, children and the elderly.

Nutmeg Put a small amount of nutmeg, the size of a dime, in a spoon, and swallow. It will stop diarrhea quickly and is safe for small children.

Orange juice Mix 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/6 teaspoon salt, 11/3 cups of water. Give a child 1/2 oz. of this mixture every 2 hours.

Persimmon Make a tea by cutting up six near-ripe persimmons and steeping them in 3 cups of boiling water, covered, for 20 minutes; strain and drink 2 cups in a 4 hour period.

Potato soup Make some homemade potato soup and eat several bowls during the day.

Pumpkin Make a tea from the leaves of a pumpkin, squash or gourd. Boil two quarts of water; snip several double-handfuls of leaves into the water; cover and remove from heat; steep for 35 minutes; drink a cup every couple of hours.

Radishes In a food blender mix a handful of chopped red radishes, 1 cup of cold milk, and 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch. Drink slowly. This remedy should stop the diarrhea within an hour. Repeat again in 4 hours, if needed.

Rhubarb Take 2-3 capsules of Chinese rhubarb root at one time. Or, make a tea by bringing a cup of water to a boil then adding 1 2/3 teaspoons of cut dried rootstock; simmer for 3 minutes; remove to steep, covered for half an hour; drink only 1/4 to 1/2 cup. If you continue to have diarrhea, decrease the dosage, as too much rhubarb can cause diarrhea. This may seem odd, but rhubarb is used for constipation and diarrhea, but in different doses.

Rice flour Rice flour dissolved in water may be given to infants to stop their diarrhea.

Rice water Boil a cup of rice in three cups of water for 15 minutes; pour off the water into a cup to cool. Take several tablespoons of flour and swallow in small quantities, washing down with the rice water. The diarrhea should stop within an hour. For infants, give them rice water with a bit of sugar and milk. For older children, eat the rice whole.

Tapioca For infants, dissolve granulated, quick-cooking tapioca (but not cooked) in water and use as an enema.

Tomato/sauerkraut Sip equal parts of tomato and sauerkraut juice. Cabbage juice may be substituted for the sauerkraut juice. Substances in cabbage have been shown to heal intestinal lesions.

Tomatoes Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices and place on a cookie sheet and put in the oven at 155 degrees for 2 hours, then 125 degrees for 9 more hours. Put dried slices in a blender to make a powder. A dozen slices will make enough to add to a cup of cool water for mild diarrhea. Use more for a bad case. You can also take a tablespoon with milk every two hours. This remedy will usually stop the diarrhea within 12 hours.

Tomato/pectin For a very effective anti-diarrheal remedy, add some dried apple powder to the tomato powder. Cut unpeeled apples into 1/4 inch thick slices; dip them in lime juice; dry at 155 degrees for 2 hours, then 125 degrees for about 3 more hours; test for complete dryness. Make them into powder in your blender and make a mixture of 1/2 tomato powder and 1/2 apple powder (about 1 level tablespoon of each), and add to 1 1/4 cup of warm water.


Children and adults should be given nothing but herb tea for at least 6-12 hours, up to 24 hours. Black and green teas are rich sources of tannins which have astringent qualities that help stop diarrhea. The following herbs are recommended: Silvery lady's mantle (Alchemilla alpina), bilberry leaves, sage, Iceland moss, silverweed (Potentilla anserina) and tormentil (good for very stubborn cases).

Agrimony Take an infusion or tincture of agrimony. It is an astringent and healing agent for all intestinal inflammations and is especially suitable for children. Can be combined with soothing herbs such as chamomile, ribwort plantain or marshmallow root to relieve gut inflammation.

Allspice A remedy from the West Indies calls for a pinch of allspice in a cup of warm water or milk.

American cranesbill Take an infusion or 2-3 ml tincture (made from leaves) three times a day; or take a decoction made with 20 g root to 600 ml water. This is an astringent and is good for children and the elderly.

Amaranth Amaranth seeds and leaves are a good astringent and are useful in stopping diarrhea. Make a tea by bringing three cups of water to a boil, adding two teaspoons of seeds, cover and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of leaves (if available) or just let it steep for 30 minutes. Drink two cups daily.

Apple Eating an apple, including the skin, is good for diarrhea.

Bayberry Bayberry contains a chemical in the bark called myricitrin that fights germs, and also contains tannins which have a drying or astringent effect that will help relieve diarrhea. Drink two cups a day until you are better. Boil one teaspoon of powdered root bark for 10 to 15 minutes. You may want to sweeten it as it is bitter.

Blackberry leaf/raspberry leaf Drink a tea made from these herbs.

Boneset Drink boneset tea.

Chamomile Drink a tea made from this herb.

Caraway Drink tea made from caraway seeds.

Catnip Make catnip tea by mixing one tablespoon of dried herb in a large cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, strain, cool, and drink.

Cinnamon The Pennsylvania Dutch put one teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and honey in a cup of warm milk. Drink at mealtime. To this remedy, Brazilians add one pinch of powdered cloves.

Cinnamon and cayenne pepper The combination of cinnamon and cayenne pepper is very effective in tightening the bowels. Make a tea by adding 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoonful of cayenne pepper to two cups of boiling water. Let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes; cool; drink 1/4 cup every half hour.

Feverfew Mix 1/2 oz. each of feverfew, skullcap and lady slipper. Place in a quart jar, fill with boiling water and steep for 2 hours. Take 2 tablespoons three times daily.

Garlic Garlic is effective in three ways: it soothes, cleanses and reduces inflammation. Dice some garlic and take with juice, milk, soup or honey two or three times a day. You may also cook the garlic. Garlic tablets are also effective and can be used by people who have problems digesting raw garlic. Take two tablets once or twice daily for mild cases, three times for bad cases, and up to five times daily for severe cases. The doses should be two grams each. Garlic is also very rich in potassium which is essential for proper contractions of muscles, including the intestines. The potassium is also important in the body's electrolyte system and is lost during bouts of diarrhea.

Geranium Geraniums make a good astringent and can help stop diarrhea. Make a tea by boiling 1/2 quart of water and adding 2 tablespoons of grated or finely chopped root; reduce heat and simmer uncovered 7-10 minutes; remove from stove and add 1/2 handful of finely snipped leaves; cover and steep for 40 minutes; strain, sweeten with honey, and drink a cup every 31/2 hours.

Ginger Add one teaspoonful of powdered ginger root to one cup of boiling water. Drink three cups a day. This is especially good for cramps or abdominal pain.

Golden seal Make an infusion of golden seal and drink up to three cups a day as needed.

Lavender Put one drop each of lavender, ginger and orange oil into a few drops of a light carrier oil. Massage into the abdominal area.

Meadowsweet Meadowsweet is another popular herbal remedy. Make an infusion using one or two teaspoons of dried herb in a cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes. Drink up to three cups a day as needed.

Mugwort In cases of chronic diarrhea, use an extract of the herb mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris).

Nutmeg Mix 1 teaspoon flour, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of white sugar, and a pinch of salt in a glass. Add enough water to make it easy to drink. Take every 4 hours.

Peppermint tea Make peppermint tea and add two tablespoons of fresh onion juice (made from a grated onion squeezed through cheesecloth); take a cup hourly.

Raspberry, red Babies can be given 1/2 teaspoon of red raspberry leaf tea every four hours.

Slippery elm Make an infusion of slippery elm and drink up to three cups a day as needed. Another remedy is made by putting slippery elm powder in a cup of hot water and drinking a cup three times daily.

Tormentil Add 20 g herb to 600 ml water for a decoction; take 2-3 ml tincture up to three times a day. Tormentil has 20% tannins, making it very astringent and helpful in reducing inflammation. You can also add soothing herbs such as ribwort plantain or marshmallow root to help ease stomach inflammation.

Turmeric Turmeric has been used effectively for centuries in India and Thailand to relieve diarrhea. Don't take in large doses if you take antiplatelet medication or are pregnant.

Yarrow Make an infusion (very weak one for babies) of yarrow. If this doesn't stop the diarrhea, add a small pinch of tormentil and give 3 teaspoons throughout the day. For a weak infusion, make it so it is barely colored. Stronger herbal teas may stimulate the baby too much and cause bad reactions.


The abbreviation gr. = granule(s).

Sodium Sulfate Two tablets of Natrum sulphuricum (Glauber's Salt or Sodium Sulfate) 6x should be taken three times a day, alternated with doses of clay water (preferably white or yellow). This remedy gives fast relief.

For infants:

Stop breast feeding and replace the milk with an equal amount of sweetened rice water, and give the following:

Aethusa cynapium 7: 2 gr. twice a day.

Argentum nitricum 7: 2 gr. twice a day.

When teeth are coming through, add:

Chamomilla 7: 2 gr. once a day.

For adults:

After a full meal, fatigue or a change of weather:

Aloe 4: 2 gr. 3 or 4 times a day.

If the diarrhea comes primarily after a meal, take the following beforehand:

China 4 and Podophyllum 4: 2 gr. of each at half hour intervals.

If the diarrhea is dark and gives off a fetid smell of rotten meat, take:

Pyrogenium 7: 5 gr. immediately

Arsenicum album 7: 5 gr. one hour later.

If there is blood or mucus in the diarrhea, a frequent desire to go to the bathroom, and rectal pain, take:

China 4: 2 gr. every other hour.

Mecurius corrosivus 7: 2 gr. twice a day.

For diarrhea due to excitement, take:

Gelsemium 7: 2 gr. once in 24 hours.

For mild traveler's diarrhea:

Phosphoric acid 30c

For pregnant women:

Diarrhea can be dangerous as it can cause a miscarriage. If you have three loose bowels in a row, see a doctor immediately. In the meantime, try these remedies, with one dose every hour up to 10 doses.:

• Cramping pains in the abdomen with yellow-green stools, take Chamomilla 6c.

• Cramping pains in the abdomen, yellow-green stools, bitter taste in mouth, no thirst, symptoms worse at night, take: Pulsatilla 6c.

• Diarrhea following over chilling after exertion, take: Dulcamara 6c.

• Diarrhea first thing in the morning, no abdominal pain, take: Sulphur 6c.


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