Diarrhea can exist alone or as a symptom of another underlying condition. It is characterized by frequent, loose or watery stools and may be accompanied by abdominal pain, cramping, fever, thirst and vomiting. When the digestive system is confronted with a toxin it shifts into overdrive and simply clears itself of everything in the way.
Most bouts of diarrhea clear up in 24 to 48 hours. This type is most often due to the effects of a bacterium (E. coli or salmonella), also referred to as a stomach virus. But, there are many other causes of diarrhea which include stress, incomplete digestion of food, food poisoning, contaminated water, the use of certain drugs, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic disease, cancer or dietary imbalances such as too much fiber.
Food allergies are most often the cause of diarrhea. Acute diarrhea; characterized by fever and mucus or blood in the stool, can be a sign of the presence of parasites or infection. Prolonged or severe diarrhea can result in dehydration and become life threatening – especially in the young and the elderly.
Diarrhea flushes water soluble vitamins and minerals out of the body and allows little nutrient assimilation from foods. For adults multi-vitamin-mineral supplements plus additional supplements may help speed recovery time and avoid a wiped-out aftermath.
Because diarrhea causes the body to lose water and essential nutrients, individuals should replace them by drinking lots of herbal tea, vegetable juices, vegetable broth or electrolyte replacement drinks that supply chloride, potassium and sodium. You also need to be on the look out for the signs of dehydration; symptoms include, infrequent urination, dark or concentrated urine, loss of skin elasticity and lack of energy.
Deficiencies of folic acid and zinc has been linked with bouts of diarrhea, as has too much magnesium or vitamin C. Foods that contain the natural sweetener called sorbitol is also known to cause diarrhea.
1. Folic acid heals the intestinal walls and reduces recovery time. Take 50 milligrams daily.
2. Zinc aids in repair of damaged tissue of the digestive tract and enhances immune response. Take 50 milligrams daily (do not exceed 100 milligrams daily from all supplements).
3. Garlic kills parasites and bacteria that cause some cases of diarrhea. Take 2 capsules three times daily.
4. Acidophilus replaces the good bacteria in the digestive tract. Take 1 teaspoon powder in distilled water twice daily. Use a non-dairy powder form.
5. Essential fatty acids aids in forming stools. Take as directed on label.
6. Vitamin A resists bacteria that may cause diarrhea. Take 25,000 IU daily.
7. B complex – one tablet daily, plus 50 milligrams each B1 and B6, 100 milligrams each niacinamide and pantothenic acid and 400 micrograms of folic acid. This combination has produced rapid improvement in acute attacks and cleared some long standing case of chronic diarrhea.
8. The BRATT diet – consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and tea – is surefire relief for a bout of diarrhea. The bananas provide nutritional supplies of potassium and sodium. The rice and toast contain fiber. The applesauce provides pectin and the tannins in tea reduces intestinal inflammation. Stay on the diet until diarrhea symptoms subside.
9. Brewer’s yeast relieves infectious diarrhea. Take capsules or tablets three times daily for two weeks.
10. Charcoal – activated charcoal tablets or capsules effectively mop up diarrhea causing toxins but are not advised for constant use because they also absorb essential vitamins and minerals.
11. Rice water. Drink 3 cups of rice water daily. Boil 1/2 cup of brown rice in 3 cups of water for forty-five minutes. Strain and drink the water. Eat the rice as well. Rice helps to form stools and supplies needed B vitamins.
12. Blackberries are held to be a powerful antidote to diarrhea. Take a heaped teaspoon of blackberry jam or make an infusion from the berries and leaves: steep 3 ounces of blackberry fruit and leaves in 1 pint of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes.
13. Carob powder is high in protein and helps halt diarrhea. Take as directed on label.
14. The herbs cayenne, yellow dock and ginger tea is good for cramps and abdominal pain.
15. Kelp replaces dietary minerals lost through diarrhea. Take 1,000 milligrams daily.
16. Goldenseal helps cure cases caused by parasites. Take 4 to 6 grams powdered root capsules daily or 4 to 6 milliliters liquid extract daily.17. Dill not only has preservative actions; it also has the natural ability to inhibit the growth of several bacteria and is gentle enough for infants. Use 2 teaspoons of mashed dill seeds per cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, drink up to 3 cups per day OR take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon tincture up to 3 times daily. In children under the age of two – give small amounts of a weak tea.
18. Herbal remedies that have health enhancing benefits for those who suffer with bouts of diarrhea include astragalus, cinnamon, dandelion, meadowsweet, psyllium, red raspberry, rhubarb, shepherd’s purse and tea.