Natural remedies for stomach problems

Dealing with an upset stomach on a regular basis can be a real pain. If your current methods aren't helping, maybe a natural remedy is what you need.

Natural remedies for stomach problems

1. Hiccups

More of a nuisance than a medical problem, hiccups are caused by a spasm in the diaphragm. The triggers range from a nervous reaction to swallowing too much air and eating too quickly.

  • Swallow one teaspoon sugar.
  • Bend over forwards, and drink a full glass of water upside-down.
  • Suck on a lemon wedge.
  • Blow in and out of a brown paper bag 10 times, very quickly.
  • Hold your breath and swallow the moment you feel the hiccup coming.

2. Diarrhea

Try these gentle remedies to soothe diarrhea, but seek prompt medical attention if the problem does not subside in two days, if it's accompanied by a fever and severe abdominal pain or if blood or mucus is present in the stool.

  • Increase your intake of soluble fibre. This may help to absorb excess fluid. Try apples, porridge or red kidney beans.
  • Steep two teaspoons dried fennel seeds in about one cup boiling water for five to 10 minutes, strain and drink. Fennel is mildly antiseptic and helps to relieve the cramping pains that often accompany diarrhea.
  • Steep one tablespoon of barley in about one cup boiling water for 20 minutes, strain and drink. It's a gentle traditional remedy for an upset stomach and diarrhea.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea can flush out important nutrients, such as potassium, sodium and glucose. Side-step expensive, commercially prepared electrolyte products with this handy home-made rehydration recipe: Mix diluted fruit juice (to replace lost potassium) with two 1/2 teaspoon of honey (to replace glucose) and a pinch of table salt (for sodium chloride).

3. Heartburn

When digestive acids back up out of your stomach for any reason, it gives you an unpleasant burning sensation in your esophagus, the tube connecting your mouth with your stomach. To help put out the fire, keep these herbal remedies in your medicine cabinet.

  • Take ginger tablets or capsules. Ginger works by absorbing the acid, and it also calms the nerves.
  • Slippery elm produces mucilage, a thick, sticky substance that coats your digestive tract, creating a protective barrier. Take one teaspoon slippery elm, mashed with a little banana, before each meal.
  • Try apple cider vinegar, an inexpensive old-fashioned remedy that really works. Take five one teaspoon in half a glass water during a meal.

4. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

The symptoms of IBS – a condition in which parts of the bowel contract too quickly – include constipation, diarrhea, cramps and bloating.

  • Stress can make IBS worse, so if you're under pressure, regularly practise a relaxation technique, such as yoga. Or breathe slowly and deeply through your diaphragm.
  • Moderate physical exercise can help to control the condition.
  • Try to avoid coffee, spicy meals and acidic foods such as oranges, tomatoes and vinegary salad dressings, all of which contribute to IBS.
  • Try psyllium seed, which is a very safe natural laxative.
  • Fat is a major stimulus to bowel contractions, so avoid fatty foods.
  • Keep a diary to help you identify the triggers – for example, certain foods, stress or hormonal changes.
  • Check food labels before you buy. Certain artificial sweeteners can upset the digestion and may even aggravate IBS.
  • Chew coriander seeds or drink coriander tea to help reduce flatulence, nausea and indigestion.

You don't have to suffer from stomach irritation. These natural remedies might help to calm down an upset stomach.

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