The digestive system is very important to overall health. Diarrhea causes loss of body fluids that can lead to dehydration and even death. Statistics show that diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children under the age of 5. Herbs can help stop diarrhea in children and adults. For severe cases of diarrhea, seek emergency care.
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Diarrhea is caused by an imbalance in the digestive system; perhaps from overgrowth of bacteria or an ingested poison. It may be brought on by lack of fiber in the diet, an enzyme or vitamin A deficiency, intestinal parasites, colitis, a reaction to rancid nuts or oils, eating unripe fruits, or food allergies. Symptoms include uncomfortably frequent, fluid, and excessive bowel movements.
Diarrhea is a way for the body to rapidly remove toxins -- but it can cause severe dehydration and loss of nutrients. Since it may be best to let diarrhea run its course for a couple of days, patients should drink plenty of water during bouts of diarrhea to guard against dehydration. Soothing herbs like chamomile, catnip, or fennel tea are excellent drinks to sip on throughout the healing process. Meals should be small and frequent. Try peppermint tea for stopping diarrhea.
There are many astringent herbs that help stop diarrhea. Astringents contain tannins that tighten and contract human tissue. The result is fluid retention that can quickly halt diarrhea and reduce any bleeding. Yellowroot, agrimony, bayberry, comfrey, peppermint, slippery elm, nettle, white oak, white willow, black walnut, blackberry leaf, and mullein are all astringent and excellent for treating diarrhea, dysentery, and even cholera. Unsweetened English breakfast tea and green tea can also be used to treat diarrhea with excellent results.
The go-to-herb for old-timers in the Appalachian mountains, yellowroot is still popular with healers and herbalists. Yellowroot helps the whole digestive tract, all the way down, from the mouth and throat to the colon, intestines, and urinary system. Purchase wild-harvested mountain yellowroot at Payne Mountain Farms.
Mullein is also good for the whole system. It helps heal and protect. Dried berries (blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry) are astringent and can help stop diarrhea. Cinnamon also has astringent properties and is readily available. Cinnamon can be a lifesaver! Add one teaspoon of powered cinnamon to one cup of boiling water. Steep ten minutes before drinking. Do not take cinnamon if fever is present.
Peppermint essential oil can reduce inflammation and soothe the digestive tract. Peppermint essential oil helps calm intestinal muscles and stops cramping. Dilute with a good carrier oil like olive oil and rub on abdomen. Use gentle circular motions. Also add one drop of peppermint essential oil to a cup of chamomile or other herbal tea.
The key when treating diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera is to drink plenty of clean water, to avoid consuming any additional harmful microorganisms, to avoid sugar and fruit juices that feed parasites, to reduce absorption of toxins into the body, to transport toxins out of the body, and finally to heal the bowels with mucilaginous herbs.
Mucilaginous herbs soothe and heal damaged parts of the digestive tract. They also carry toxins out of the body without feeding harmful bacteria. Mucilaginous herbs include psyllium, slippery elm, and marshmallow. They should be consumed with large amounts of water. Okra pods, also considered a mucilaginous herb, should be thoroughly cooked and chewed well when treating diarrhea.
A recipe for slippery elm balls calls for a dough to be made of slippery elm powder and a little honey. Roll into bite sized pieces and dust with more slippery elm powder. Store in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator and eat often as a snack. Slippery elm balls help keep diarrhea away.
Other foods that are good when treating diarrhea include boiled rice, oatmeal, cooked whole grains, bananas, and steamed vegetables. Wine with meals can also help by killing harmful bacteria.
* When using herbal teas to treat diarrhea do not add sugar or milk as they feed bacteria. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy or if condition does not improve within a week.
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"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
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