Home Remedy for Diarrhea: An Account of some Experiences
Bristol Stool Chart
An Overview of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is an infection in the intestine caused from unclean water and unhygienic conditions leading to frequent loose motion and severe fluid loss in the human body. An estimate of the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that around 1.5 million child deaths around the globe every year occur due to diarrhea and more than two billion people suffer from the infection every year.
The major symptoms of diarrhea are frequent fluid stool motion in a very inconsistent and unpredictable manner, vomiting, severe stomach pain, thirst and some times more painful with fever also. The bristol stool chart presented in picture-1 suggests different kinds of stools of which diarrhea can be considered as motions of the form 5 through 7 as depicted in the picture.
Diarrhea can be very dangerous both for children under age five and for the aged above 65 years of age. But if not treated in time it can be dangerous even for adults and normal people. Fortunately, this common ailment can be prevented by adopting many home remedies and in most cased if diagnosed and addressed from the beginning can cure it even without medication. However, one is advised to visit a doctor if the problem persists as continuous loss of fluid through frequent motions and vomiting can result in dehydration and can have serious health consequences.
Home Remedies for Treating Diarrhea
Diarrhea can be treated at home in a three way strategy.
(a) By adopting means to prevent dehydration
(b) By adopting means to compensate dehydration by taking more fluid into the body.
(c) By adopting home medicines that can arrest the frequency of the motion and give relief to body
We shall discuss all the three ways separately.
(A) Preventing Dehydration
Dehydration due to frequent motion and vomiting should be prevented as it results in loss of fluid from the body and loss of critical nutrients. Each motion and vomiting makes the ailed person weak. So there is no need to get into activities that may cause dehydration. One may take rest, avoid physical exercise, avoid working in the sun, and so on. There are also some sort of foods that cause motions and anything that aggravates motions and vomiting should be avoided during diarrhea. A list of food items that can be avoided during diarrhea is given below.
Most of the ripe fruits and their juices that facilitate motion like apple, mango, papaya, ripe bel should be completely avoided. In places like India, Bel (wood apple) sarbat (a drink made of ripe bel pulp and sugar) is a popular delicacy in summer for its various health benefits and peculiar taste. But during diarrhea, this may be dangerous. But in many places a magic drink is prepared from raw bel that cures diarrhea. We shall discuss the elaborate process of making the drink at home in the last paragraph.
All sorts of milk and dairy may make the situation worse. Dairy products should be completely avoided even if some people suggest curd for its ability to reduce the stomach pain. In many places bakery food such as biscuits and cakes are also avoided during diarrhea.
(B) Taking more fluid into body
Diarrhea causes loss of fluid from the body through frequent motions and vomiting. It is therefore essential that the loss be compensated through appropriate intake of liquid into the body. When a person is ill, she may be often reluctant to eat or drink especially when we are dealing with infants. But special preparations can be made in order to make the liquid intake more tasty. Whatever be the case, regular intake of liquid food is highly recommended. In the following we have provided some home made items that can replenish the body of essential fluid and rehydrate the body along with supply of some essential nutrients.
Plain clean water can be taken to rehydrate the body. However, water does not give any extra benefit and due to frequent motion as well as vomiting the ailed person may be reluctant to take plain water. The patients should be treated with ORS or oral re-hydration solution that can be easily prepared at home by using easily found materials in a common kitchen. The most common recipe for Oral Re hydration Solution is to add 2-3 teaspoon kitchen sugar with a pinch of salt and mix it well with around 1 liter purified or boiled water. Please remember that sugar is believed to aggravate diarrhea. Its added only for the sale of taste. One may make the solution at home and administer as frequently as possible so that the loss of fluid from the body does not make the patient very weak.
One may also treat the patients with cereal based oral re-hydration formula. A handful of brown rice can be overcooked with excess water and after the rice of thoroughly cooked, use the water with a pinch of salt as an oral re-hydration solution.
Please remember that any dehydration should be treated with a re hydration process. Home made ORS is the best therapy for re-hydration.
(C ) Home medicines for Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a very common ailment that has been fought by the mankind for ages. So there is no dearth of ideas as to how to combat diarrhea. Most of the ideas for remedy are very locality specific. However, there are some commonly accepted ways to arrest diarrhea. Some of them are discussed below.
Banana: Administering banana works miraculously in curing diarrhea. Banana should not be very ripe. Please select bananas that is hard to press and is at a stage before being suitable as a table fruit. In India, people also use boiled raw green banana, smash it and take it along with a pinch of salt. In many places boiled potato smash is also added to smashed boiled banana in order to make the food more eatable.
Lemon : This is a wonderful home remedy for treating diarrhea. One may take one of two lemons, squeeze and remove the juice, grind the cover of the lemon thoroughly to a paste and take one spoon lemon peal paste in an interval of 15 minutes and even in cases of severe diarrhea, it stops the motion immediately. The only problem with this home remedy is its bitterness that many people may not like. Pastes made from pomegranate peels is also very effective in a similar fashion.
Rice: Many recipes can be made from rice especially the healthy brown rice that can be used to treat diarrhea. As discussed above, drained water from boiled rice can not only cause re-hydration, it also gives relief from stomach pain. One may also eat rice with smashed boiled banana. It provides an immediate relief from stomach pain. Flaked rice (Chuda or chura as it is called in India) soaked in water and taken with ripe banana is also very effective.
Some other uncommon but effective means: As discussed earlier, depending on the availability of materials the remedies for diarrhea may differ from place to place. In many places in India, especially in Northern Odisha (a province in Indian East Coast), people use guava flowers and very tender guavas to treat diarrhea patients. There is no need for any special preparation for this. If you have a guava tree in your garden, you may collect the guava flowers or very tender guavas and just eat that after washing in clean water. The taste is bitter, so make a paste out of it in a kitchen grinder and have the paste instead of taking the flower.
A magic drink for both diarrhea remedy and re-hydration made from wood apple.
This is a recipe my grandmother used to give us during diarrhea when we were kids. When we grew old and moved to cities, we found it difficult to get wood apple especially the tender ones whenever we wanted. But I highlighted this recipe because of its nice taste. So in the event you are able to collect the raw materials, you may try this as the process is not very elaborate. Take a tender wood apple or “Bel” at a very raw stage, burn it on fire until the cover of the fruit turns into charcoal. Remove it from fire, clean the charcoals, smash the inside things that will become soft after being burnt, add water and salt/sugar as per taste. Mix thoroughly. Drain the water and drink. It's a wonderful remedy to control the frequency of motion whereas ripe wood apple may facilitate motion. If burning the wood-apple is too much of a process for you then just cut or break the tender green wood apple, boil it thoroughly in a pressure cooker and take the drained water after cooling it. Add salt or sugar, whatever you like.
Note: Please remember that the home remedies presented above are not exhaustive. They are only indicative. I am sure in many places many different ways are adopted. The ground rule for home remedy is, anything that caused constipation should work as a remedy for diarrhea. You may add any other processes, you are aware of, as a comment to this hub.