Most people will experience a case of diarrhea at some point in their lives. Some cases are mild and resolve on their own. Others become chronic and need special attention. If your diarrhea lasts more than 14 days or contains blood or mucus seek medical attention.
Dietary changes and hydration are key components of managing diarrhea. In this article, we’ll explore some natural remedies and diarrhea supplements.
Peppermint (Tea or Oil)
One of the most researched herbs for digestive ailments, including diarrhea, is peppermint. Doctors recommend peppermint for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It can help with diarrhea, constipation, or mixed IBS.
Peppermint tea is extremely safe and has no known adverse effects. It can also help with bloating, abdominal discomfort, and indigestion. You’ll feel the effects soon after ingesting the tea.
Peppermint prevents spasms of the gut’s smooth muscle while promoting healthy digestion. It also prevents the growth of microbes that cause food poisonings from E.coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. Peppermint tea shows antibacterial effects against these microbes, Staphylococcus, and bacteria found in the mouth. Menthol, a key active ingredient in peppermint, also shows antibacterial effects.
Unbalanced gut flora is one digestive condition associated with diarrhea. Some friendly bacteria numbers are in excess while some are lower than normal. In cases of food poisoning and other gut infections, pathogenic microbes alter the normal microbiota residing in the digestive tract.
Probiotic supplements can help balance gut flora and eliminate diarrhea and other symptoms. Researchers have studied probiotics extensively for diarrhea prevention and relief. They have especially focused on acute cases in children. Some studies found probiotics beneficial in these cases.
Lactobacillus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis, which you can combine with Streptococcus thermophilus can help. Other useful probiotics include:
- L. reuteri
- L. rhamnosus (not GG)
- Streptococcus spp
- L. acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium ssp
- L. casei
- Saccharomyces boulardii (yeast)
These probiotics can prevent diarrhea associated with antibiotic drugs. Lactobacillus GG and S. boulardii are particularly helpful in managing infectious diarrhea. They’ve proven very effective with rotavirus infections.
Activated charcoal is a powerful natural compound. It has a long history of use in medicine as an antidote for many toxins and poisons. Hospitals still use it for drug overdoses of aspirin, acetaminophen, and sedatives.
Activated charcoal can attract and expel toxins from the digestive tract. It also prevents the body from absorbing these toxins. The supplement has a negative electrical charge. So, it effectively traps various toxins and gasses with positive charges. Once trapped, the activated charcoal carries them out from the body in feces.
Although there needs to be more research, scientists believe activated charcoal is a suitable antidiarrheal treatment. It can be especially helpful in cases of diarrhea from chemotherapy, digestive tract cancers, IBS, and bacterial infections.
Furthermore, research studies found that activated charcoal has a good safety profile. Not only can it help relieve diarrhea, but can manage nausea, excess gas, and abdominal pain. It is important to take the supplement a few hours before or after eating.
Berberine is a key active ingredient found in goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape. Scientists have researched it in hundreds of studies and found it has many benefits. Some benefits include:
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Improve blood pressure
- Support blood sugar
- Promote healthy cholesterol levels
- Manage fatty liver
- Improve peptic ulcers
- Eradicate H. pylori infections
- Antibiotic effects
It showed benefits for managing diarrhea and abdominal pain associated with IBS and cancer treatments. A review of 38 randomized controlled trials found berberine is effective in improving diarrhea symptoms and duration. This is compared to those who did not take berberine. Plus, participants did not report severe adverse reactions to the supplement.
According to some research, when managing diarrhea berberine and antibiotics are more effective than antibiotics alone. Researchers saw the most benefits when participants took berberine for seven days or three days in cases of acute diarrhea.
Berberine alone in combined with montmorillonite (bentonite clay), probiotics, and B vitamins help manage diarrhea.
Seek medical advice if your diarrhea persists or the symptoms are severe. There are many other herbs and natural supplements to manage diarrhea.
If diarrhea is not self-limited, you may need a prescription medication. Doctors may also want to perform lab and stool tests.