It seems to be that time of year again, and the dreaded stomach bug is making its rounds. Nearly everyone in my household has suffered with it this past week, to greater or lesser extent. But it has caused me to look--again--into what natural treatments may render some help for the afflicted.
The cruelest part of this malaise may be that drinking plain water usually makes matters worse. But, I'm thirsty, I'm dehydrated, I need to rinse out my mouth! Don't do it, unless you want to repeat the same symptoms. I used to turn to gatorade or 7-up, until I gave up such overly-sweetened, chemical-laden substances, lol. Then I found Smart Water, which has the needed electrolytes added in without the sweeteners and so on. It tastes like ... water! And it does help. But this time I didn't have any, nor did I want to make a trip to the store for any. What to do?
I looked in a book of natural remedies I have, and was reminded of an herb which I already know can work wonders. We used it last summer when one of our goats took a turn for the worse and we nearly lost her. This herb made all the difference, and she is still with us. Used it on a few of the others as well. But I hadn't thought of it for us. What is this wonder herb? It is ... Slippery Elm. It is commonly used for colds, for its soothing and healing properties on the throat. But the soothing and healing don't stop with the throat; they continue on down to coat the digestive system and reduce inflammation there as well.
Then I remembered fennel seed, which is also soothing to both the throat and the digestion. And we had already made mint tea. So it was a matter of putting these together. I got out our mortar and pestle (which is optional) to crush the fennel seeds a bit, added those and some dried mint leaves to our tea bag and brewed a pot of tea. When it was ready, I put a bit of slipper elm powder, maybe 1/2 teaspoon or so, into my cup before pouring in the tea.
Ahhh! Two issues addressed at the same time. Here is a beverage I can drink (although slowly at first) to relieve my thirst, and it helps settle my stomach at the same time. Yay!
This brew seemed to help all of us find some relief. Then comes the recovery period, when the stomach has settled a bit, but you still can't eat much. We have always relied on the BRAT diet: Banana, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast (and/or Tea). When reading my book, it stated that pectin is what helps here, of which the applesauce and bananas are good sources. It also mentioned ... carrots! Something I hadn't heard of in this context. It seems that they are also a very good source of pectin. The book recommended cooking rice with some carrot as a good first food to introduce during recovery. Sadly, I was not able to manage that dish when needed, but it's gotten me thinking, and I may just cook some up tonight.
One more thing, which should not be an after thought, is probiotic cultured (or fermented) vegetables. The traditional method of making saurkraut comes to mind, but there are versions out there with much more than just cabbage. I read of a lady who was extremely sick with food poisoning, who happened to have a jar of cultured veggies in her refrigerator. She half crawled to get to them and could only drink a bit of the fermented liquid. Her results were quick and striking. Her energy and health returned rapidly. I cannot promise any such results, but it cannot hurt, and it makes sense that this would help. Get those beneficial microbes in to do battle with the bad bugs. Oh yeah.
So, while I do hope you do not need this information, I hope you will find it useful if such a time should come.