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Digestive Health

Natural remedies to combat diarrhea

 

The human intestinal tract is a marvelous creation, in which our food is digested, water is absorbed, and waste is collected and eliminated. When our digestive system works well, we feel good. But when it works poorly, we can feel really lousy.

A common digestive problem is diarrhea, which can be caused by bacteria, excessive intake of oily and greasy foods, stress, inadequate friendly bacteria in the intestines, poor diet, excess alcohol, and many different types of pharmaceutical drugs. Diarrhea is uncomfortable, inconvenient, and often quite embarrassing.

Many Americans experience diarrhea due to the drugs they take. According to the National Institutes of Health, drugs that typically cause diarrhea include antibiotics, all laxatives, magnesium-based antacids, chemotherapy drugs, heartburn and stomach ulcer drugs (Tagamet, Zantac, Axid), and the common pain-reliving agents ibuprofen and naproxen. According to the FDA, the heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (Dexilant, Nexium, Prilosec, Zegerid, Protonix) can cause severe enough diarrhea and gastric distress to eventually require surgical removal of part of the colon in some cases. If you are taking any of these and are experiencing diarrhea, speak with a holistic physician who can help you to get off these drugs and recommend something safer.

If you suffer from regular or chronic diarrhea, then the first thing to do is revisit what you are eating. Inadequate dietary fiber, high intake of fatty and fried foods, and insufficient intake of highly nutritious foods – such as whole grains and leafy green vegetables – can weaken your digestion and tend you toward diarrhea. Going to the bathroom too much, loose stools and watery elimination can occur. So first off, change your diet. Easy-to-digest grains like oatmeal and millet can help to re-stabilize digestion and elimination. Steamed leafy green vegetables can supply the minerals your bowels need for healthier function. Reducing or eliminating greasy and fried foods can also make your digestive tracts less slippery.

Probiotics, which are friendly bacteria necessary for proper digestion and elimination, can help to reduce or completely eradicate diarrhea. Live, active yogurts and live, probiotic supplements can help to colonize your digestive tract with bacteria that enhance digestion, improve overall intestinal health, form healthier stools, and control elimination. Take them regularly until you are back in balance. I recommend the Pearls IC probiotic by Enzymatic Therapy.

When you are experiencing diarrhea, charcoal capsules can help to stop the problem, and give you relief. Charcoal absorbs toxins and helps to slow down elimination. It’s safe and non-toxic, while working relatively quickly. Look for the the Activated Charcoal capsules from Nature’s Way.

Fresh ginger root tea, which is useful for a very broad range of health problems, can also help to reduce the discomfort of diarrhea. Tazo Teas makes a good organic ginger root tea. Eating green bananas can help as well, slowing down elimination. White rice – eaten plain – can slow down excessive elimination, and is filling.

Regular or chronic diarrhea means that something is wrong. If you are taking medications, find out if any of them can cause diarrhea. If you are eating greasy foods and little fresh produce, then a diet change is in order.  Better food and a few natural remedies can help you to enjoy better digestion – and get you away from the bathroom – so you can enjoy life.

Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide.  His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at www.MedicineHunter.com.

Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at MedicineHunter.com.