Some of the most effective home remedies for gastroenteritis include the use of carbonated beverages, simple carbohydrates, fluids, zinc, yogurt, ginger, chamomile tea, mint, rice water, cinnamon, and turmeric.
What is Gastroenteritis?
You have likely experienced gastroenteritis at one point in your life or another, even if you don’t realize. Gastroenteritis is actually the formal medical term for stomach flu, also known as gastric flu or stomach virus. Gastroenteritis is caused by a bacterial infection, commonly rotavirus in children, and norovirus in adults. The condition is most commonly characterized by extreme nausea, cramping, and stomach pain, further manifesting in vomiting, diarrhea, or both. This decidedly unpleasant sickness usually doesn’t last more than 3-4 days before your body can eliminate the viral or bacterial infection, but it can also last longer, making life quite miserable. While most people immediately turn to antiemetics (stop vomiting) or antibiotics to rid themselves of the infection, this can weaken the immune system to future attacks, which is likely to occur, as the stomach flu is very common and spreads easily.
However, there is strong evidence to suggest that natural remedies are actually the wisest approach to treating gastroenteritis. Some of the symptoms of stomach flu are only made worse because people rely solely on medication, when far more should be done for a happy and healthy recovery. In fact, this reliance on a simple medicinal fix could make the symptoms last even longer, whereas natural remedies and behavioral strategies can have you back on your feet and your stomach back to normal in no time. The home remedies outlined in more detail below are some of the most trusted and effective home remedies for gastroenteritis.
Home Remedies for Gastroenteritis
Although sugar-rich juices and carbonated sodas aren’t a good idea for treating the stomach flu, and can in fact cause stomach upset, carbonated beverages like sparkling water, soda water, or ginger ale are wonderful options to settle those upset stomachs and soothe your nausea. The exact mechanism of carbonated beverages isn’t entirely understood, although ginger and water are two other important stomach flu remedies, so it’s a double dose of goodness for your gastrointestinal system.
When your stomach is under attack from one of these bacterial or viral causes of gastroenteritis, you don’t want it to have to work too hard to digest food and the crucial nutrients you need. That is the reason that so many people stop eating when they are sick with gastroenteritis, as it seems that everything they eat comes right back up. However, by eating simple carbohydrates like toast, crackers, cereal, potatoes, and basic fruits and vegetables, you can likely get those nutrients digested and be on the road to recovery much quicker.
One of the most important tools in the battle against gastroenteritis is already in your body, but excessive vomiting and diarrhea can compromise that defensive line. Beneficial bacteria in the gut helps to digest food and protect your gastrointestinal system from infections, but that bacteria is often lost through violent vomiting and diarrhea. Probiotics can be found in high concentrations in yogurt, and this can not only soothe your stomach, but also promote the regrowth and protective capacity of the beneficial bacteria in your gut to speed up the healing process.
Many people want “comfort food” when they are ill, but if those foods happen to take the form of spicy food, caffeine, dairy products, or high-fat foods, the end result isn’t going to be pretty, and you’ll end up being far more uncomfortable in the long run. Stick to simple foods and cut out anything that is typically difficult to digest.
As one of the oldest and most trusted remedies for an upset stomach, chamomile tea is also ideal for treating gastroenteritis. The strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile tea can help to settle the stomach and eliminate nausea and vomiting, in addition to boosting the immune system to combat whatever the cause of your stomach flu happens to be.
This ancient cure-all is also quite useful in the area of gastroenteritis. The active components within ginger are powerful and versatile, including its ability to soothe the stomach and protect the inner lining of your stomach from dangerous bacteria. Chewing on ginger has also been known to eliminate nausea, although brewing ginger tea is probably the most common application of ginger for the stomach flu.
One of the biggest dangers of gastroenteritis is dehydration. To put it bluntly, when you are vomiting and experiencing diarrhea, your body is rapidly losing its fluids, making you feel worse and slowing down every process of your body, including your immune system and compromising your digestive tract. You must replenish those fluids in your body before you will begin to feel better, so drink as much water as possible to keep hydrated.
The powerful organic compounds in mint have long been praised for their cooling, soothing, and anti-inflammatory effects. Chewing on mint leaves for gastroenteritis and related stomach issues has been in practice for thousands of years. Brewing fresh mint tea is also an effective remedy against vomiting, as it can reduce that inflammation in your gut.
One of the less “scientific” remedies for gastroenteritis is the consumption of cinnamon and honey tea, which has been a home remedy for centuries. The exact pathway of how this helps gastroenteritis is unknown, but honey and cinnamon both have powerful organic compounds that promote immunity and reduce inflammation.
This popular spice is known and consumed all over the world and is often considered one of the most versatile and effective herbal remedies for a wide range of health conditions. The complex mixture of antioxidants, bioflavonoids, vitamins, and minerals found in turmeric make it a wonderful tonic for an upset body, particularly if you’re suffering from gastroenteritis.
A Final Word of Warning: Again, many of these natural remedies relieve the symptoms of stomach flu and help get your own immune system and digestive system back to normal. In addition to rest and hydration, these can be effective complements to antibiotics or other medicinal approaches, but these behavioral and dietary remedies are also essential to get the body back to 100%.