Diarrhoea is a problem that has plagued all of us, at some point or another, in our lives. We have all faced this problem in myriad ways, be it on an intimate basis, or from a comfortable, detached distance (one would prefer the latter). Diarrhoea is that particularly noisy (no pun intended) ailment making itself known and quite often heard in a way not unlike that of a siren call coercing us to abandon the natural progression of our life, clutch our stomachs and make a beeline for the nearest available wash room. This is accompanied with fervent praying to any available higher power asking that for once, the wash room will be unoccupied. If it is, all is good, one heeds nature’s call in the private confines of a wash room. This problem also serves as a wonderful ice breaker in conversations that have settled in the doldrums a good ten minutes ago. One sees otherwise incompatible people set aside their differences to engage in a rousing conversation about diarrhoea at a social gathering. It makes for a quite lively discourse among relatives, who sadistically choose to pursue this particular topic at dinner tables, correlating the richness in amounts of food ingested with the possibility of being afflicted with acute or chronic diarrhoea in the immediate future. Meanwhile young, pesky cousins locate visual similarities between the problem and the food being served with gleeful malice. However, the reader is hereby presented with ten miraculous home remedies to allay this problem.
The magic word is hydration. Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more. Diarrhoea causes one to lose water and vital nutrients at a very fast rate. It leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which in turn has far reaching adverse effects on the body. Add salt and sugar in the ratio of 1:6 tablespoons to a litre of water and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Consuming this mixture will go some way in restoring the electrolyte imbalance. However, do not substitute fruit juice for water mixed with salt and sugar as it will complicate matters further. The digestive system, compromised as it is, will be unable to digest fructose.
Apples contain pectin, and you need pectin. Pectin is a form of dietary fibre originating in plants, which is instrumental in this circumstance, by virtue of its water solubility. It absorbs the surplus water circulating in one’s digestive tract, thereby slowing down the frequency of diarrhoeaic discharge. It is preferred that the apples be consumed raw. It is best to steer clear of apple juice, as its high fructose content, along with the absence of fibre will accelerate the diarrhoea. If apples aren’t available, then boiled carrots and bananas serve as reasonable substitutes. Strawberries and raspberries also contain a high amount of pectin.
Yoghurt contains ‘live and active cultures’ such as steptococcus thermophilus, bifidobacterium, which regulate the host’s alimentary health. The live bacteria line the host’s intestines with probiotics which serve as protection against the germs which cause diarrhoea. It is advisable to avoid milk as more often than not, in certain cases milk can serve as a trigger for diarrhoea. Although yoghurt is a milk product, its lactose content is significantly less than in unpasteurized milk. Since the digestive system is already compromised, it will prove difficult to digest food products high in lactose content as the production of lactose has been severely hindered. This can further lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and aggravate one’s condition. However, if one happens to be lactose-intolerant, it is wise to consult a doctor regarding one’s diet.
Ginger helps regulate bowel movements and reduce Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome. It also helps in alleviating nausea, cramps. Ginger contains gingerol and shogaol which assists in the release of enzymes that aids digestion. It is best to avoid any form of factory processed ginger. One can wash and peel the ginger root and consume it in its raw form or also add little slivers or ground ginger to tea. One can also make ginger syrup by adding sugar, ginger slivers and ginger peel to water and boiling it. This syrup can be taken with water or tea.
6. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile contains flavonoids which is (predictably) water soluble. It absorbs excess water present in the digestive tract and also serves as an anti-inflammatory agent. Chamomile has also been found to possess anti-spasmodic properties. It inhibits spasms of muscles in the digestive tract, therefore ridding one of nausea and dry retching. Drinking chamomile tea two to three times a day will facilitate the betterment of one’s health. If chamomile tea isn’t available then one can turn to black tea. It is advisable to avoid coffee and also taking milk with tea. Black tea contains a high amount of tannin which is a water soluble polyphenol.
Drinking water mixed with lemon juice two to three times a day helps a lot. The acidic content in lemons kills the pathogens causing diarrhoea. Peel a lemon, grate it and then add the juice and the peel in tea. One could also add honey to lemon infusion.
4. Fenugreek Seeds
Adding ground fenugreek seeds to water works wonders. Fenugreek seeds contain a kind of fibre called mucilage. Whereas it is often recommended to steer clear of foods that have high fibre content as it proves to overwork the digestive system, it is quite the opposite with mucilage. It functions in a way similar to an adhesive, it absorbs water that has accumulated in the intestine and binds everything together preventing further gastrointestinal cramps. Mucilage has almost no toxic content.
Turmeric is used as a remedy for numerous health problems, ranging from arthritis to kidney problems, diarrhoea being but one of them. Turmeric contains anti-microbial properties that helps stall the microbial attack in the body. Turmeric can be taken in its powdered or root form. It has anti-inflammatory properties. One can add powdered turmeric to water along with ginger and drink it or consume it with yoghurt. However one should ingest turmeric in small quantities as excess turmeric often has adverse side effects. If already under prior prescribed medication, then it is best to consult one’s doctor regarding consumption of turmeric.
Cereal, rice, potatoes, pasta, toast contain a considerable amount of starch. Boiled,baked or steamed potatoes, boiled rice, thick gluggy cereal without any sugar, however unappetizing, work in one’s system’s favour and hastens recovery. The starch content absorbs water and helps bind loose stools. One could also consume crackers to regulate sodium content in the body.
Rest, rest and then rest some more. The body, along with the bowels, needs rest. Sleeping will provide the body with the much required rest required to boost immunity. One should strive to avoid any physical activity which may put a strain on the body and hinder its recovery. A compromised immune system is also the body’s way of indicating to slow down and take it easy. While one is resting and is possibly bored, one should avoid chewing gums as they contain sorbitol, which is a sugar-alcohol, it cannot be digested by the digestive system, instead it causes an inundation of water in the digestive tract which only serves to further aggravate the condition. So, one should take time off, curl up in bed, keep hydrated, eat right and rest.