Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of factors. It may be simply a sign of dehydration or stress or it may be indicative of a more serious illness or disorder. Either way, diarrhea that persists for more than a few days needs to be treated. Otherwise, the patient may experience severe dehydration or other serious problems. There are several herbs, some of which are very common, that can treat diarrhea.
Marshmallow root, a very popular herb, can sooth cramps and settle stomach upsets of nearly any kind. Marshmallow root can be made into either a tincture or a tea and can be taken for as long as is necessary. It should not cause any adverse effects except a possible drug interaction. Another herb that has the same effects as marshmallow root is chamomile. Chamomile can be taken in any form and for as long as is necessary. Although this herb is safe for both adults and children, it should not be taken by patients who are allergic to ragweed.
Although slippery elm bark does not cure diarrhea, it can provide relief from cramps and should not interact with other herbs or medications the patient may be taking. If the patient wants to, he or she can add some slippery elm bark to a tea containing other more effective herbs.
Fenugreek can act as a lubricant to the intestines. When treating diarrhea, it is usually taken in tea form. The patient should be warned that this herb has an extremely bitter taste. Fenugreek should not be taken for more than two or three days. Otherwise, the diarrhea may worsen.
There are several herbs that can strengthen the cellular lining of the intestines and, therefore, keep out excess fluid. Dried witch hazel leaves can be made into a tea and taken two or three times a day until the diarrhea lessens. Dried agrimony can be taken the same way.
Another herb that strengthens cells is bilberry. Only bilberry leaves will relieve diarrhea. The patient should be careful not to take too much, however. Long term use or consumption of large quantities of bilberry leaves may cause problems such as further stomach upset or, in rare cases, poisoning.
Psyllium seed can absorb excess water from stools. It should, however, be taken with caution. Psyllium may interact with chemical medications and other supplements that the patient may be taking.
Odd as it may sound, catnip is an herb that can treat diarrhea. Catnip is a type of mint and is sometimes used to relax the muscles of the digestive tract. This herb should be used with caution, however, and should not be taken by pregnant mothers.
In addition to catnip, there are several other herbs that the majority of people probably have around their houses all the time. Dill, for example, can relieve diarrhea. It is not, however, considered one of the primary herbs to use when treating this ailment. Clove was traditionally used to aid digestion and should not cause any adverse effects if the patient wants to try it.