Diarrhea is a condition characterized by numerous loose, watery stools along with abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and in extreme cases, dehydration. Although it is the body’s natural mechanism to get rid of unwanted infection, frequent trips to the toilet causes a lot of discomfort, sometimes confining a person to his home.
Diarrhea may be caused in numerous ways- consuming contaminated or stale food, food allergy, some kind of infection, reaction to a medication or something as simple as stress. Generally, it is self curing and lasts upto 2-3 days till the body flushes out the infection. But the requirement of medical attention depends upon the severity of the condition. Also we cannot ignore diarrhea in case of small children, pregnant women andthe elderlybecause excessive loss of fluids may cause dehydration which can be dangerous.
At an early stage, diarrhea can be controlled with simple home remedies, some of which are listed below:
1. WATER: Boiled and cooled water is the simplest remedy for diarrhea because it replaces the fluids lost by the body. Have at least 10-12 glasses of water daily. A sugar- salt solution can be prepared by adding 1 teaspoon of salt and 4 teaspoons of sugar in a litre of water and had at regular intervals to hydrate yourself. Also other liquids like juices, soups, lime water and green tea might help.
2. BANANAS: The high fiber content of bananas helps to solidify the watery stools. Consuming a mixture of a ripe, mashed bananas with some tamarind pulp and a pinch of salt is really helpful. The other way is to have 1-2 bananas for breakfast.
3. YOGHURT: Probiotics like yoghurt help the digestive system clear all the toxins from the body. You can also have buttermilk or curd along with rice or bananas. However, milk should be avoided as it might worsen the condition.
4. GINGER: Ginger, known to be an enhancer of strong digestion, is another effective remedy for diarrhea. One can drink 2-3 cups of ginger tea everyday. Alternatively have a mixture of equal quantities of ginger juice and lemon juice along with a pinch of pepper powder 2-3 times. However, patients of hypertension should avoid taking ginger.
5. FENUGREEK SEEDS: Fenugreek seeds provide relief from diarrhea because they are known to make the stool bulky. Mix a teaspoon of powdered fenugreek seeds with a glass of water and drink it to overcome this problem.
6. RICE: Brown rice has high fiber and vitamin B content which help in reducing stomach infection. Boil brown rice in water, add some salt to it and have it with curd. You can also cook some white rice in water, strain it and have this water by adding a pinch of salt and some sugar to it.
7. ORANGE PEEL TEA: Orange peel tea can be prepared by boiling some properly washed orange peel in water. Let it cool and add honey or sugar. Having this tea 2-3 times daily helps normalize digestion. Another herbal tea can be prepared using chamomile flowers.
8. CARDAMOM: Cardamom, an aromatic spice found in every kitchen, is an effective remedy for diarrhea. It can be chewed directly or used in tea. Helps to soothe an upset stomach. A mixture of powdered cardamom, cinnamon with some honey is also beneficial.
9. BLACK TEA WITH LEMON JUICE: Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to half a cup of black tea. Having this tea will not only rehydrate you but also reduce the frequency of passing stools.
10. TURMERIC POWDER: A pinch of turmeric powder can be had with some plain water. It acts as an antiseptic for the intestines and is beneficial in chronic diarrhea.
11. CARROT SOUP: Carrot soup is a magic remedy for diarrhea. It is a rich source of sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium which rehydrates the body and prevents the growth of intestinal bacteria. Carrot soup should be consumed many times a day.
12. FRUITS: Apple is useful for this purpose but do not have apple juice. Papaya, which contains potassium, makes up for water loss from the body due to passage of watery stools. Pomegrenate juice is also helpful because of its astringent properties. Other fruits that might help are guava and pineapple.
13. TOASTED BREAD: Toasted bread is also used as a remedy for diarrhea as bread tends to bind stool. Best consumed without butter or jam.
One also needs make sure that the body’s fluid loss is compensated by increasing liquid intake ( no alcohol, caffeine or carbonated drinks). Despite the loss of appetite, keep nibbling on light, non-spicy foods at regular intervals to avoid nausea. Avoid sugar as well as artificial sweeteners. Always have fresh and well-cooked food and give preference to vegetarian food. In case these remedies do not help, consult a doctor because the condition may worsen due to excessive loss of fluids. Also opt for medical supervision for infants, aged people and pregnant women.