Home Remedies For Stomach Flu
Many people want to use home remedies for stomach flu (gastroenteritis). In fact, the disease rarely requires prescription drugs from the pharmacy. The targeted use of various home remedies against gastro-enteritis or over-the-counter preparations can also alleviate the symptoms in many cases. Read here whether and how household remedies such as healing earth & co. can help with a stomach flu.
When are gastrointestinal home remedies useful?
Home remedies for gastroenteritis are conveniently available without a doctor’s prescription and are already available in most households anyway. However, whether and how well gastrointestinal home remedies help varies from patient to patient. Used correctly, they do not harm in any case.
In general, however, the following applies: Only try household remedies such as healing clay or apple pectin in the case of a simple, uncomplicated stomach flu or gastroenteritis. Normally, the symptoms disappear on their own after a few days, and the patient becomes healthy again. However, certain gastrointestinal home remedies can reduce the unpleasant symptoms such as the typical diarrhoea. However, the duration of the disease cannot be shortened by this.
When is a good time to see a doctor?
In principle, a doctor should be consulted at the beginning of the illness in most cases. On the one hand, because you or your children urgently need to stay away from community facilities (workplace, school, kindergarten, etc.) due to the high risk of infection for others and usually require a sick note. On the other hand, of course, because only the doctor can safely assess how dangerous the stomach flu or gastroenteritis is.
As a rule, it is an unpleasant but relatively harmless disease. Sometimes, however, very serious courses of disease can occur (especially in older people and small children), for which therapy with gastrointestinal home remedies alone is not sufficient.
In other cases, too, patients often require prescription drugs (such as antibiotics, infusions with fluid, medication for abdominal cramps.), for example, when high fever or bloody diarrhoea occurs as a result of gastroenteritis. Home remedies alone will not help here.
It is also advisable to consult a doctor if the stomach flu (gastroenteritis) is possibly connected with a trip abroad.
Which home remedies are available for stomach flu?
There are many different home remedies for stomach flu or gastroenteritis. Home remedies against diarrhoea are particularly effective. Although a whole range of active substances against diarrhoea are also available in pharmacies, many gastrointestinal home remedies work on the same principle. The two most important groups are adsorbents and swelling agents.
Adsorbents are a group of active substances that can bind (adsorb) bacteria and their intestinal toxins or even viruses. They are then excreted together with them so that the intestine can recover. Pectins, healing earth and white clay as well as activated carbon are counted among the adsorbents.
The effectiveness of adsorbents against diarrhoea is partly disputed among experts and could not be clearly proven in studies so far. However, the funds seem to help many people. Healing earth and activated carbon are part of the stock of every pharmacy. However, always ask your pharmacist for advice on the use of the product and inform him or her about any medication you are already taking. This is because some drugs (e.g. cardiac glycosides) can interact with the adsorbents.
These are an example of plant adsorbents. These plant compounds are found in apples, bananas, carrots, citrus fruits, apricots and oak bark. This is also the reason why, for example, grated apple and banana pulp are often used as a home remedy for gastro-enteritis. By the way, carrots are easier to digest when they are cooked or prepared as soup. In pharmacies, foods containing pectin are also available as ready-to-use preparations with a high pectin content.
Healing earth and white clay
The so-called healing earth also belongs to the adsorbents. It is a special, very finely grated sand (loess), which consists of various minerals and trace elements (mainly aluminium and silicon compounds). The fine granulation results in a large surface area, which means that many toxins can be enveloped and rendered harmless. For self-treatment against diarrhoea, mix one to two teaspoons of healing clay in half a glass of cold water or tea. Drink the mixture in small sips.
The kaolin-containing “white clay” (bolus alba) is similar to the healing clay, which is usually combined with other active ingredients in finished preparations.
Medical activated carbon is also among the adsorbents. These are charred organic substances which are finely ground and offered in tablet form. Activated carbon is not only used as a gastro-intestinal flu remedy, but also for all kinds of poisoning: it binds bacterial toxins and other toxins and thus prevents them from being absorbed into the blood via the intestines.
Swelling agents are often used to treat diarrhoea, but also for constipation. These are substances that bind water in the intestine. This increases the overall volume of the chair. In case of diarrhoea, the increase in volume prolongs the passage time of the stool in the intestine and the consistency of the stool becomes somewhat firmer. Due to the swelling, the stool in the intestine envelops bacteria and toxins so that these are also excreted. In constipation, on the other hand, swelling agents contribute to softening of the stool by binding water. Typical swelling agents are, for example, psyllium husks and linseed. It is important with swelling agents that they are always taken with sufficient liquid.
Other stomach flu (gastroenteritis) home remedies
Various teas are used as further home remedies against gastro-enteritis. Classics such as fennel or chamomile tea have a calming effect on the gastrointestinal tract and are also anti-inflammatory. Some teas also contain tanning agents that build up a kind of protein protective layer on the intestinal mucosa and thus protect it from bacterial attacks. An example of this would be blueberry tea: Pour 150 millilitres of boiling water over two teaspoons of dried and crushed berries and leave to infuse for ten minutes. You can drink up to six cups of it a day. You can also chew the berries. Do not replace the dried berries with freshly picked ones, as these can cause diarrhoea! Blackberry leaves and green and black tea also contain tanning agents and help against diarrhoea.
Most people know probiotics from advertising. But how effective are probiotics as home remedies for gastroenteritis? The human intestine is populated with innumerable microorganisms, which are collectively known as intestinal flora. These are mainly useful bacteria that aid digestion and protect to some extent against pathogens by suppressing the growth of harmful strains of bacteria. Probiotics are preparations of certain microorganisms which are supposed to multiply in the intestine and displace pathogenic bacteria there. Probiotics are also said to boost the immune system. Yeast fungi like Saccharomyces boulardii also bind bacterial toxins.
The efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of diarrhoea caused by gastro-enteritis has not yet been properly proven. However, probiotics are used as a preventive measure against travel diarrhoea and after antibiotic treatment to strengthen the intestinal flora.
People with immunodeficiency should not take probiotics with fungal cultures, as this can lead to excessive fungal infestation.
In the case of gastroenteritis, diarrhoea is usually accompanied by abdominal cramps. This is where heat helps, for example in the form of a hot water bottle. A damp washcloth between the stomach and the hot water bottle intensifies the effect (damp heat).
Potato toppings are also strong heat sources. To do this, simply boil the potatoes, mash them and place them on a cloth. Then let the potatoes cool down a little, and then place the pad on your stomach and tie it with a cloth. Caution: There is a risk of burns if the potatoes are too hot!
The ingredients of the Uzara root also have an antispasmodic effect and also reduce intestinal activity. Juices, tablets and drops based on Uzara root are available in pharmacies without prescription. However, personally, I was checking for it in pharmacies by February 2020 and could not find it.
Cola and salt sticks – a suitable home remedy for gastro-enteritis?
The fluids and electrolytes lost through vomiting and diarrhoea in the case of gastro-enteritis must be replaced. Cola and pretzel sticks are still considered a classic gastro-enteritis home remedy in this respect, but are actually not the best choice. Cola is of course a form of liquid, but contains hardly any electrolytes. In addition, the soft drink is very high in sugar and caffeine, which additionally irritates the stomach and intestines. Fruit juices, milk, alcohol, coffee and all carbonated beverages are also counterproductive.
Salt sticks contain a lot of sodium but no potassium, which is just as important and is excreted in large quantities in case of diarrhoea. Therefore, salt sticks alone are of no use, although they are well tolerated.
For example, in the case of a gastro-enteritis are generally well digestible:
- Soup broth
- White bread
- Baby food
So there are numerous ways to make the time of illness more bearable by using gastro-enteritis home remedies and the right food.