Herbal Health Treatment of Diarrhoea

Symptoms vary from just passing a loose stool once a day, to several bowel movements accompanied by bowel cramping, pains and often an urgency to go to the toilet.

Severe diarrhoea due to a bacterial or viral infection is the world’s biggest killer of children due to resulting dehydration.

If the diarrhoea is caused by a bacterial or viral infection then it will probably only last up to 48 hours and the important thing is to keep fluid and electrolyte levels up. There are several rehydrating products on the market such as Dioralyte, which will prevent dehydration in severe cases of diarrhoea. If it lasts longer than 48 hours and you suspect you have a bacterial or viral infection then go to the Doctor. Many cases of Gastroenteritis are caused by toxins produced by bacteria in food and this can be very dangerous not only due to the dehydration caused but also due to the effect the toxin can have on the kidneys. So it is important to try to drink plenty of water but go straight to the Doctor or hospital if you start passing blood in the urine.

If the diarrhoea is long term with blood and mucous then you must go to the Doctor for a diagnosis as it may be Colitis or Crohn’s disease. I am not going to discuss, Colitis, or Crohn’s disease in this article. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is discussed in its own article.

The last paragraph sounds a bit scary but I want you to be aware that a possibly innocent tummy bug may be extremely detrimental to the body and needs quick action.

If the symptoms are loose bowel movements several times a day with urgency and possibly stomach cramping with no underlying cause, then Herbal Medicine is worth trying.

I have helped many people in my clinic who have suffered with diarrhoea from varying causes.

Food intolerance is often a cause of unexplained Diarrhoea and I do ask people to keep a food diary for a month to see if there is any connection to food substances.

Obviously this is one time when high fibre foods should be eliminated from the diet.  All high fibre cereals and wholemeal bread need to be cut out. Dairy and wheat are also prime suspects for causing gut irritation, but it is difficult to cut out all these foods at once, so cut the high fibre foods first and take the Herbal medicine.

The aim with herbal medicine is to tone the gut lining, making it less sensitive to food irritants and to calm the gut down.

A typical Herbal mixture of tinctures would be:-

Agrimony to tone the gut lining

Chamomile to calm the gut making it less irritable

Marshmallow is high in mucilage which coats and protects the gut

Fennel to calm the gut and dispel wind

Drink plenty of water, but cut out Caffeine containing drinks. Caffeine is a strong stimulant and also a diuretic which may contribute to dehydration.

Caffeine is in:-



Boost drinks

Some alco pops

And don’t hate me too much on this one, CHOCOLATE

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Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Agrimony (Agrimonia Eupatoria)

The leaves and flowers are used which contain coumarins and tannin

Due to the tannin content of Agrimony it is an astringent plant and tones up all mucous membranes to improve their strength.


Gypsies picked, dried and stored the leaves and used as it as a refreshing tea in the same way you drink PG tips, but without the milk added to it.

It aids food digestion as it has bitter properties so is a good herb for indigestion. It is also liver cleansing and just like ordinary tea has a diuretic action.

In clinic I use it in small amounts in many digestive mixtures to tone the gut lining. I believe many digestive problems including irritable bowel syndrome may be caused by a “leaky gut” where the lining of the gut is in poor condition ( think broken skin) and Agrimony can help tone the gut lining up, preventing only partially digested foods crossing the gut barrier in to the blood stream and then causing problems in other parts of the body.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information