More often than not, people complain of uneasiness in the stomach. Soon after eating a meal, they feel an urge to relieve themselves. Diarrhea is a common problem today. A variety of unhealthy food choices have led to increasing health issues. We don’t talk about it because it’s something that’s just not a social topic, right? While it is an awfully uncomfortable experience, diarrhea is a fairly usual bowel issue in both adults as well as children. But the concern is that it can become a significant weakening problem for people. The good news is that it can be controlled as well as prevented with the right kind of guidance.
Before diving into the Ayurvedic view of diarrhea, let us understand what diarrhea is and what causes it.
What is Diarrhea or Loose Stools?
Diarrhea is an uneasy bowel movement that causes loose, watery stools. It is sometimes accompanied with blood and mucus and can have a foul smell. Some may experience cramps and nausea along with it.
Diarrhea that lasts for a day or two is called Acute Diarrhea. It is a fairly common problem. Chronic Diarrhea on the other hand is a problem that can prolong for weeks. This is a chronic illness and a much serious issue. The symptoms may come and go.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Diarrhea can be caused by many factors, the most common are:
- Bacteria: Consuming contaminated food can transmit bacteria and parasites in the body. Diarrhea can occur when infected by bacteria such as Clostridium difficile.
- Food Intolerances: Some people find it insupportable to ingest certain foods such as lactose. In such cases, eating intolerable foods can cause diarrhea. Certain food intolerances tend to increase with age. Fructose and artificial sweeteners are also known to cause loose stools in some people.
- Medicines: Intake of antibiotics is another cause of diarrhea. Antibiotics end up destroying good bacteria along with bad bacteria, this causes disruptions in the digestive system. Antacids and cancer treatments that contain magnesium can also invite diarrhea.
- Viruses: Viruses can cause intestinal infections leading to diarrhea. Viral gastroenteritis can cause a viral infection in the intestinal tract. Viruses such as cytomegalovirus, flu, Norwalk virus and viral hepatitis can cause diarrhea. Rotavirus is known to be a common cause of Acute Diarrhea in children.
- Post-Surgery: Diarrhea is known to be a common side effect of surgery. Certain surgeries that include abdomen, appendix, gallbladder, large intestine, liver, pancreas and spleen can sometimes cause diarrhea. Certain surgeries can also leave a person with chronic diarrhea Bacterial overgrowth around the surgical area, insufficient nutrition intake and rapid draining of the stomach during surgery may result in chronic diarrhea.
- Other Reasons: Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, microscopic colitis and ulcerative colitis can cause chronic diarrhea.
Ayurveda and Diarrhea
We all face digestive problems to some extent. In Ayurveda, any digestive disorder in the physiology is related to poor digestive strength or poor agni. And Ayurveda has a lot to say about poor digestive power which can lead to Diarrhea or Atisaaram.
All functional bowel disorders that are often talked about, are problems related to chronic Agni or digestive strength that is not up to power. What Ayurveda says is that weakened agni is the root of the problem. If you have poor digestive strength, you will eventually get to some kind of bowel functional problem.
So, how do you get good agni? The first thing to do is to eat a diet which is appropriate for your mind and body constitution. Agni is considered as the source of life in Ayurveda. The kind of food you intake will directly affect your agni. This is fundamental and basic to all Ayurvedic recommendations.
The second is to avoid incompatible food combinations that stress the physiology and make it difficult for agni to do its work.
The third is to nourish the digestive strength that is not exercising and not doing things that are compatible with good health such as snacking, avoiding eating your biggest meal at noon, forgetting about eating meals at appropriate times.
These are all problems, lifestyle choices that we create for ourselves that lead to poor physiological functioning. Needless to say, be sure to consult expert online Ayurvedic Doctors first to understand what changes in your diet and lifestyle can help you prevent such problems.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Diarrhea
- Taking the bark of Arjuna or kahu in decoction form is recommended.
- A mixture of tender leaves of babul or kikar with cumin seeds can be administered.
- The leaf buds of the banyan tree when soaked in water are beneficial in the treatment of chronic diarrhea.
- Dill seeds sautéed in ghee with fenugreek seeds serve as a medicine for diarrhea.
- Indian gooseberry or amla and ginger are excellent in treating diarrhea.
- White rice is also recommended due to its starch content and easy digestive property.
- Intake of liquids such as water, coconut water, green tea and mint juice is also beneficial.
- Nutmeg is a powerful herb that is useful in treating dehydration caused by diarrhea. An infusion of water, nutmeg and coconut water is an effective treatment.
- Due to its astringent action, rhubarb can be taken with beneficial results.
- Calamus or bach is a time-tested remedy and an ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines for diarrhea.
- The seeds of parslane or kulfa are known to relieve gripping pains caused by diarrhea. They are usually given with a combination of other herbs such as mint juice and powdered mango seeds.
- Eating apples in stewed form and bananas is recommended due to the presence of fibers which help in regulating the intestinal tract.
Quick and Easy Home Remedies for Diarrhea
Ayurveda has a lot to say about giving us good guidelines which promotes good digestive strength. By following Ayurveda, we can heal ourselves from digestive disorders such as diarrhea and be on our path to improving our health.
Here are a few recipes that you can use with minimum ingredients found in your kitchen to help ease your suffering from diarrhea.
- Rehydrating Solution
Make a rehydrating solution for yourself by mixing half liter of water with 3 teaspoons of sugar and 1/4th teaspoon of salt. Inclusion of sugar and salt along with water aids the intestine to absorb fluids swiftly.
- Yogurt / Curd Rice
Mix half a cup of yogurt with a cup of steamed white rice. Add a teaspoon of sugar or salt, depending on your preference. The starch in the rice and the probiotics in the yogurt are helpful in restoring the digestive imbalance.
- Ginger Drink
Take an inch of ginger, crush it and add a cup of water. Add half a teaspoon of cumin seeds and bring it to a boil. Strain and enjoy. Ginger contains antioxidants that help restore nutrients. It also helps in smooth digestion.
Foods to Avoid
- Spicy foods and extremely hot or cold beverages are to be avoided.
- Meats are a big no as they are difficult to digest and hence put a lot of pressure on the stomach.
- Fried snacks, salty food, foods with artificial sweeteners and sugary drinks should also be avoided.
- Alcohol, caffeine and milk tea should also be avoided.
With all this information, you can kick start your journey to happy healing with Ayurveda. Natural preventatives have been proven time and again and Ayurveda has been effectively used for thousands of years. As always, be sure to consult expert Ayurvedic Doctors first if you are experiencing any digestive disorder, and use Ayurveda the right way.
But don’t save your online Ayurvedic Doctor consultation at Total Ayurveda Care till the illness strikes. Ayurveda also suggests preventative measures and recommends herbals to ward off illness, as well as setting up a healthy lifestyle. At Total Ayurveda Care, you will receive help from world-class Ayurvedic Doctors who will guide you to a happy and healthy life.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is presented for the sole purpose of education on Ayurveda, and neither the details in this blog nor the products are intended to diagnose, cure, prevent, treat, or mitigate any condition. If you have a medical condition, please consult an Ayurvedic Doctor or health professional. Total Ayurveda Care strongly recommends that you speak with your Doctor before making any changes to your diet through which your health will be benefited.