Natural diarrhea remedies aren’t something that gets talked about much. I guess people just don’t like talking about bathroom issues.
So, it may come as a surprise that diarrhea is one of the top causes of death for children under five worldwide. (Source). The dehydration that diarrhea causes can be deadly for adults too.
Because of how dangerous diarrhea is, it is important to have emergency diarrhea medicines in your first aid kit at all times. In emergencies, though, we don’t always have access to meds. This is a bigger problem than you might think. Just consider the outbreaks of GI ailments that occur after natural disasters.
To treat diarrhea naturally without medications, you’ve got to understand what causes diarrhea in the first place.
- Viral Infections: This is the most common cause of diarrhea. Antibiotics do not help with viral infections. You’ve got to wait for your body to tackle the virus on its own. Immune-boosting remedies can help, though.
- Bacterial Infections: This often occurs in unhygienic circumstances, such as after flooding or when there is a boil alert for water. Bacterial infections are also the cause of traveler’s diarrhea.
- Contaminated Water: Even if a water source looks clean, you should never drink backcountry water without treating it first. There are bacteria and protozoa lurking there!
How to Treat without Medications
Remember that diarrhea is your body’s way of naturally getting rid of harmful agents in the body. In many cases, you actually don’t want to stop the diarrhea. Rather, you need to focus on treating the diarrhea on all fronts.
To effectively treat diarrhea naturally, you’ll need to focus on 4 things:
- Rehydration: It is the dehydration that diarrhea causes which is deadly. The best treatment is to stay hydrated.
- Soothing Stomach: Diarrhea often results in painful inflammation and bloating. Natural remedies can help with this.
- Killing the Pathogen: Natural antibiotics and antiviral remedies can kill the root cause of the diarrhea.
- Resetting Gut Flora: Gut flora is all the natural bacteria and microorganisms living in your gut. If you have an infection, your gut flora can become unbalanced and must be reset.
A lot of the natural remedies listed here are plant-based. You will need to make a tea, powder, or tincture out of them to use them.
Tincturing is usually considered the best way of making your natural medications. It is easy to do, and the tincture can last a long time.
The following video will show you how to tincture.
1. Homemade Rehydration Solution (aka Electrolytes or Pedialyte)
I always keep electrolyte packets (Amazon Link) in my first aid kit (and have had to use them more times than I’d like). They are also great for hangovers or those days you forgot to drink enough water.
This natural hydration remedy works better than plain water because water doesn’t hydrate the body by itself. You need electrolytes to regulate the exchange of water molecules between cells.
If you forget this recipe, remember that electrolyte solutions should be no saltier than tears. The amount of sugar doesn’t matter as much towards rehydration.
- Six teaspoons of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 liter safe drinking water
Consume electrolyte solution after each bowel movement. Adults should consume at least 3 quarts/liters of the remedy daily until feeling better.
- Children under two: About ¼ to ½ a cup at a time.
- Older children and adults: About ½ to 1 cup at a time.
- Coconut water: A great natural source of electrolytes. You can use it instead of water in the recipe above.
- Rice water: The water from soaked or cooked rice is great for hydration. Too bad it tastes gross.
- Lemon juice, orange juice, or banana: Feel free to add these to your rehydration solutions. They contain natural electrolytes and some calories.
- Honey: You can use honey instead of sugar in your rehydration solution.
2. Natural Stomach Soothers
There are a lot of great plants that can help heal your upset stomach. The natural remedies listed here are all easy to find in North America. You can even forage many of them.
The reason that these plants work for treating diarrhea naturally is because they contain tannins. Tannins cause tissues to contract and tighten, which helps improve fluid retention and can stop bleeding in dysentery.
Some of these are so powerful that they can immediately stop diarrhea.
Some plants also have other properties that help treat diarrhea naturally, such as antibiotic properties and reducing inflammation.
These are a good source of tannins to stop diarrhea and are rich in the minerals you’ll need to replace lost nutrients.
The leaves and roots are excellent sources of tannins. You can also use the fruit to stop diarrhea too, though.
Best known as a natural treatment for coughs, mullein is also a potent anti-diarrheal remedy and fights inflammation.
Peppermint tea is one of the best natural remedies for diarrhea and upset stomach. It helps by relaxing the GI tract muscles so painful spasms don’t occur.
Cinnamon has antibacterial properties, which can treat diarrhea naturally. It also reduces pain, bloating, and relieves gas.
Best known for its ability to stop nosebleeds, yarrow has many medicinal benefits. It helps kill bacteria and yeast that can cause diarrhea.
This one acts as a thickening agent which binds stools together and can quickly stop diarrhea.
This calms the stomach. It is also rich in a natural antibiotic called berberine and can cure protozoan or bacterial-induced illness.
Even though psyllium is often used as a laxative, it can help diarrhea because it grabs water. It will cause stools to bind together.
Black walnut is particularly effective at treating diarrhea from intestinal parasites or worms. To use, make a tincture out of fresh black walnut hulls (while they are still green colored).
A potent anti-inflammatory agent, agrimony helps calm the GI tract and treat digestion issues.
Even if you have stockpiled emergency antibiotics, you might not want to reach for them immediately. Most cases of diarrhea are caused by viruses – not bacteria. Taking antibiotics won’t help in these cases. Antibiotics might even make the diarrhea worse by disrupting gut flora. And there is the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria…
Natural antibiotics are often more effective than pharmaceuticals for infections. This is because, unlike antibiotic drugs which do one thing, plants contain thousands of natural chemicals which fight infection on multiple levels.
4. Homemade Probiotics
Probiotics are “good” bacteria and yeast that live in your gut. We now know they are important for everything from regulating mood to preventing heart disease. Some probiotics help keep “bad” bacteria in check.
Antibiotics (including natural antibiotics) kill off both good and bad bacteria. So, whenever you take antibiotics, you should also take some probiotics.
Lacto-fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are great natural sources of probiotics. Fermenting is something that all homesteaders should look into anyway. Since ferments also taste great, they are great to have around.
What natural diarrhea remedies do you know?