What is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a condition generally caused by a myriad of viral infections, but is also often the result of bacterial toxins and sometimes even infection.
One of the most important treatments for diarrhea involves the patient consuming adequate amounts of water to replace that lost, preferably mixed with electrolytes to provide essential salts and some amount of nutrients.
Diarrhea may be either chronic or acute, depending on the cause. Stress, laxatives, drugs (usually antibiotics), intestinal parasites, flu viruses, food allergies, as well as food poisoning may cause diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is basically the result of the body's attempt to rid itself of toxins, irritants, or infections in the intestinal tract.
Common Causes Of Diarrhea:
The most common causes of acute diarrhea are infections, which is the main cause of traveler's diarrhea, food poisoning, and medications. Medications are a frequent and often over-looked cause, particularly antibiotics and antacids. Sometimes, various sugar free foods, which often times contain poorly absorbable materials, cause diarrhea.
Top Herbal Remedies For Diarrhea:
There are many historically-proven herbal treatments for common diarrhea, that can in fact be as effective, if not more potent than many over-the counter remedies. For many people, further treatment and formal medical advice is unnecessary, however, diarrhea can be a symptom of a more serious condition, and can be health threatening to high-risk persons such as the elderly or infants. Use common sense and, seek advice if the condition becomes persistent.
- Grapefruit seed extract. A good preventive and treatment herb for traveler's diarrhea is grapefruit seed extract. This extract is a potent all-around antimicrobial product, as well as an excellent disinfectant.
The seed's extract is extra bitter, so use tablets or capsules instead of the liquid, and take three times a day. If you do use the liquid, use five drops in a glass of water. Another helpful product to carry with you is activated charcoal which is explained in more detail below.
- Agrimony. Perhaps best-known as a wound herb used in medieval warfare to halt bleeding. Agrimony's astringency is effective against diarrhea, especially in small children, and because of its low toxicity, the herb is particularly suitable for children's illnesses. Agrimony stops irritation of the urinary tract that may increase a child's urge to urinate and, therefore, may be useful in the treatment of bladder leakage, bed-wetting and adult incontinence.
- Apple cider vinegar. For preventive measure, start taking a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of honey in a glass of water half an hour before each meal a few days before your trip. Continue this therapy during your trip.
- Lemon juice. Drinking the juice of a freshly-squeezed lemon in a large glass of water three to five times a day kills the pathogens causing the diarrhea. For prevention in case there is a stomach virus going around, take 1-2 tablespoons of juice before meals.
- A tea, tincture, or capsule of red raspberry leaf and/or meadowsweet can help in the treatment of diarrhea, since they all contain tannins, which have an astringent effect on the intestines. A common dose would be 1/2-1 teaspoon of tincture, 1 cup of tea, or two capsules two to three times daily.
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