There are many causes of diarrhea, and many herbal remedies to handle the symptoms.
All geranium and red raspberry leaves have astringent qualities, which are useful for treating diarrhea because they help the colon contract and slow down the passage of feces, giving the body a chance to withdraw water from the mass as it passes through. These herbs also bind toxins.
Mullein may be useful for reducing inflammation of the digestive tract. Other herbs such as chamomile, fennel, and peppermint may also soothe the lining of the colon.
Nettle soothes an inflamed colon but also has mild laxative properties. Be sure to use it with discretion.
In large quantities, psyllium seeds and husks, familiar as a constipation remedy, can also help diarrhea. They provide bulk to slow down the passage of liquid material through the large intestine. Use a teaspoon or less at frequent intervals. Do not take them with prunes, figs, or dates.
As soon as diarrhea has subsided enough for you to tolerate solid food, get plenty of foods rich in potassium and sodium--two major electrolytes. Garden produce, especially asparagus, beet greens, berries, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, melons, plums, potatoes, salad greens, sweet potatoes, and squash, are teeming with potassium. Potato skins are especially beneficial.
Echinacea or other immune-stimulating herbs are critical during bouts of diarrhea caused by infectious microbes.
Diarrhea is a symptom -- the body is trying to get rid of something harmful. It is generally recommended to let diarrhea run its course, being careful to replace fluids and electrolytes by drinking broth and eating potassium-rich vegetables. Children and babies should be watched carefully and medical attention sought if diarrhea is severe, persists longer than one day, or worsens after one day. The same is true for adults.
If stools are bloody, get medical attention immediately.
Diarrhea Herbal Recipe
- 2 teaspoons Oregon grape root
- 1 teaspoon dried leaves of bilberry OR scented geranium OR red raspberry
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon chamomile
- 2 cups water
Simmer Oregon grape root for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining herbs. Steep for 15 minutes. Drink warm; avoid cold liquids during bouts of diarrhea.
For more information about the subjects covered in this article, try the following links:
- To see all of our herbal remedies, visit our main Herbal Remedies page.
- To learn more about treating common medical conditions yourself, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- To learn other ways you can treat the diarrhea at home, read Home Remedies for Diarrhea.
- Find out more about Goldenseal and the conditions it treats when you read Goldenseal: Herbal Remedies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gayle Povis Alleman, M.S., R.D. hold degrees in both alternative and conventional nutrition. She manages nutrition education programs and teaches nutrition in the community. She is also a freelance writer and speaker in the area of food, nutrition and health, specializing in holistic nutrition to promote optimum health.
ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS
Silena Heron was a naturopathic physician with a family health-care practice. She was a nationally recognized specialist in botanical medicine who had taught throughout the West and Canada since 1973. She was founding chair of botanical medicine at Bastyr University and on the faculty for six years. Additionally, Dr. Heron was an adjunct faculty member at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. She was the founding vice president of the Botanical Medicine Academy, an accrediting organization for the clinical use of herbal medicines.
Eric Yarnell, N.D., R.H. (A.H.G.) is a naturopathic physician and registered herbalist in private practice specializing in men's health and urology. He is an assistant professor in the botanical medicine department at Bastyr University in Seattle and is president or the Botanical Medicine Academy. He is the author of several textbooks including Naturopathic Gastroenterology, Naturopathic Urology and Men's Health, and Clinical Botanical Medicine; He writes a regular column on herbal medicine for Alternative and Complementary Therapies.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.