From The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing: Diarrhea


alive books' Encyclopedia of Natural Healing is Canada's award-winning compilation of natural healing remedies. The Encyclopedia, published by alive books ($69.95), contains 1,500 pages and hundreds of full-colour photos. It's a must-have reference for your family and is your home doctor when you need instant medical help. This is a volume you will pick up on a daily basis! Look for it in your health food store or order it from alive books (800-661-0303).

Diarrhea is a strong signal of another problem in the system. Watery stools develop when mucus and fluids are released into the intestine and not enough water is absorbed into the body. Fever signals an inflammation of the mucous membranes. The propelling action of the intestines is faster than usual and, if severe, it causes cramping, abdominal pain and urging. Diarrhea is often a symptom of gastroenteritis, a general term that means any inflammation of the intestinal tract, but often refers to the stomach flu. It usually resolves itself within a day or two. If accompanied by blood and mucus, dysentery is the cause.


Diarrhea is a natural reaction of the bowels to purge the body of toxins, irritations, infections and other unwanted substances. Diarrhea can be caused by unclean water, spicy food, eating too quickly, unripe fruit or undigested vegetables. Mixing too many foods, such as vegetable and fruit salads, pickles, drinks and other snacks, or eating too much heavy, creamy food, can cause the digestive tract to react adversely and expel the overload. Only persistent diarrhea is cause for concern. The acute symptoms of gastroenteritis are usually due to viruses, bacterial or parasitic infections, particularly in traveller's diarrhea or food poisoning. Parasites can cause long-term or repeated diarrhea.


Acute diarrhea can be caused by contaminated foods or water. Eat foods freshly prepared whenever possible. Harmful bacteria, viruses, molds or parasites con quickly multiply to spoil food left to stand at room temperature.

The most important dietary concern when treating diarrhea is to prevent dehydration. Consume clear liquids such as broths, diluted juices and herbal teas freely. During the acute phase, it is best to not take any solid foods at all.

Nutritional Supplements

Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus cultures are often essential in the treatment of diarrhea, by reintroducing the natural bacterial flora which exists to fend off germs and fungi.

Charcoal tablets absorb toxins and help stop the diarrhea. Healing clay mixed in water will work similarly. Both are recommended for food poisoning. If the charcoal does not have any effect, a virus is likely causing the problem.

Garlic is particularly helpful if germs are to blame. Citrus seed extract is also effective and is often used to prevent and treat traveller's diarrhea due to bacteria, parasites or viruses.

In more severe chronic cases of diarrhea, minerals need to be replaced. Green food supplements such as wheatgrass or barley grass may help to replace many of the lost minerals. Be sure to drink plenty of water.

Daily dosages:

Most Important

Lactobacillus acidophilus complex, three capsules or one teaspoon

Charcoal tablets, as recommended on the label or one teaspoon in one glass of water two to three times daily


Green foods supplement, one teaspoon daily

Healing clay, one teaspoon in a glass of water

Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg three times daily

Herbal Remedies

To relieve cramps, heal the intestinal tract and arrest diarrhea, take herbal teas and juices.

Prepare hot teas of camomile, peppermint or black tea to stop the diarrhea. Peppermint tea also helps relieve spasms.

Tormentil has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. It is healing to the intestinal tract inflammation and very suitable for children. Make a tea using one teaspoon of herb in one cup of boiling water and sip slowly throughout the day.


Sudden acute cases of diarrhea should be treated with a few doses of a well-selected remedy, using the 6C strength. Place two tablets under the tongue and allow to dissolve. Repeat four times daily until there is a marked improvement, or for 10 days as needed. If the symptoms are more severe, repeat the remedy every 30 minutes for several doses, then four times daily.

Arsenicum album is often used in cases of gastroenteritis. The symptoms are quite violent and worse at night, with vomiting and diarrhea accompanied by weakness, anxiety and great restlessness. The pains are burning in character. The person is chilly and thirsty.

Veratum album should be used in similarly violent cases, where the stools look like rice water, are expelled quickly and are accompanied by a cold sweat. There is often simultaneous vomiting and the person is weak, chilly and very thirsty.

For the complete entry on diarrhea, consult the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing.

Share this with your friends