Oh, the stomach flu! What a nasty bug. Having been through it a couple of times, I thought I’d share some ayurveda knowledge and some stomach flu natural remedies should you also get affected by viral gastroenteritis (a.k.a the stomach flu).
What’s the difference between the stomach flu & food poisoning?
Although the stomach flu and food poisoning can have similar symptoms (vomiting, headaches, fever, loose stools, etc.) and are both an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, their cause differs.
Food poisoning is a bacterial infection resulting from eating something disagreeable, whereas the stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis is a viral infection contracting by contact with an infected person. Both conditions usually last one to three days, but it may take two weeks or longer for the digestive system to regain its full strength.
However, if you are affected by either food poisoning or the stomach flu, your immunity and digestive system was probably a bit weak to begin with. This is why in the same family, one or two people may get sick and the others not, even if everyone was exposed to the same food or virus.
Stomach Flu Natural Remedies
- Rest is top priority. Stay warm and cozy in bed and just sleep and/or breathe deeply and rest your digestive system – don’t push yourself to eat;
- Avoid dehydration by taking small sips of room temperature water once vomiting has ceased. Small sips are important, as big gulps with may further aggravate the system;
- Add electrolytes to your water. I like the Arbonne Phytosport Hydrator (much less sugar than other sports drinks) in water.. You can also make your own: 1 c water + 1 tsp agave nectar (or maple syrup) + 2 tbps lemon juice + a pinch of salt;
- Rice water is soothing. To make it, simply boil brown rice (organic is best) with double or triple the usual amount of water. When the rice is ready, strain it and drink the water — when you feel better, you can also eat the rice;
- Coconut water is hydrating;
- Clear broths or other clear, non-acidic beverages are beneficial;
- Fennel and coriander tea is good too. Just put about 1/2 tsp of freshly ground fennel and coriander seeds (equal parts) in a cup of hot water and let steep for five minutes before drinking.
When you are ready to eat
- Plain rice with broth and maybe some stewed zucchini;
- Dry toast, dry crackers or sweet potato;
- Apple sauce and/or half a banana;
- Take Kitchari diet for a few days following to reset the digestive system. (“Kitchari” means “mixture” or “stew” and is a staple food in India). Below is a recipe for Kitchari.
- Take Activated Charcoal. It has toxin-absorbing properties, so it works well for both stomach flu and food poisoning;
- Go see a doctor or health care professional, if you have blood in your stool or if your symptoms get worse after a couple of days.
- Ayurvedic herbs are great to rebalance the digestive system, but these can only be recommended on an individual basis, as not all herbs are appropriate for all people. This said, Triphala is safe for almost everyone and helps to remove toxins;
- Book an ayurvedic consultation to help you rebuild your digestion and immunity.
The best comfort food to get the digestive system back on track.
- Split mung beans or red lentils 1/2 c (soak for minimum 1 hr before using)
- Brown rice 1 c
- Water 4 c
- Sea salt 1/2 tsp
- Cumin – freshly ground 1 tsp
- Coriander seeds – freshly ground 1 tsp
- Fennel seeds – freshly ground 1 tsp
- Turmeric 1 tsp
- Small pinch of Hing or asafoetida (It helps prevent gas and can be found at an Indian store.)
- About 1/2 – 1 c easily digestible veggies (zucchini, sweet potato, carrot, turnip and/or squash)
Directions: Put everything into a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer ~30-45mins. (Tip: avoiding adding the veggies, if your digestive system is very weak.)