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1.29.2013

Herbal Remedies to Keep on Hand: Digestive Problems

Herbal tea can bring much needed relief and hydration during tummy troubles.
Digestive problems are no fun for everyone, and kids seem to get them most frequently.  While they usually recover from them quickly even without any help, the following herbal remedies can help increase their comfort and speed healing.

BUT REMEMBER, digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea are the body's way of quickly removing something that is damaging to the body.  Even before learning about herbal medicine I have always hated the idea of Imodium and other drugs that stop diarrhea or vomiting.  When something needs out it needs OUT.  My feeling was confirmed during the great E coli outbreak of 2010- while the rest of us chose to forgo medication in favor of rest and hydration, my husband decided to take some Imodium.  And he nearly had to be hospitalized, while the rest of us were better in just a few days.  As such, none of these herbs will actually stop vomiting or diarrhea- they aim to rehydrate, protect the body's tissues, or ease the pain.  Constipation, on the other hand, should be dealt with quickly, because slow bowels increase the release and absorption of toxins.
  • Elderflower tea- contains pectin, which helps reduce diarrhea.
  • Echinacea and Oregon Grape tincture- great for treating diarrhea that is possibly caused by bacterial infection.
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea- mild enough for kids, and can help relieve digestive distress, especially during diarrhea.
  • Calendula- tea or tincture can help relieve an upset stomach.
  • Chamomile or Ginger Tea- can help relieve an upset stomach.
  • Slippery Elm Bark- for constipation, 1/2 tsp of slippery elm powder mixed into food can get things moving.
  • ...but mostly we use food remedies for digestive distress.  Probiotic foods, applesauce, sugar free gelatin, chicken stock, ginger in any form, dried blueberries and water with honey, lemon, and a pinch of celtic sea salt to replace fluids and trace minerals.
If diarrhea seems to be a frequent problem with your child consider removing all dairy from his/her diet.  Dairy is a common allergen and one of the many symptoms of a dairy allergy is frequent diarrhea.

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