Hi guys, sorry this is a day late. I worked a double shift yesterday and got home really late in the evening and then had to help my friend. She has cancer and is going through Chemo at the moment. I thought I would write a post in the Natural Home Remedies Collection that covered general stomach upsets and food and alcohol poisoning as these are common things some of us experience from time to time and especially around Christmas or when dining / going out on the town.
I myself have had food poisoning twice, both times from rice and alcohol poisoning twice after drinking Vodka with Russian friends and very cheap unlabelled Whiskey with German friends. I hardly drink now but boy back then did I suffer! And when we’re young we all do it, we all go out and don’t know our limits and end up worse for wear the next day. Some of you I know still do it around birthdays and holidays 😉
Random Fact: Did you know rice starts to go off / turn bad just 20 mins after cooking it and leaving it on the side? I learnt that in a food hygiene course. Rice is the fastest food to go bad and doesn’t smell or grow mould, which makes it harder to see. If you have leftover rice make sure you use it the next day and heat all the way through, evenly, until steam is bellowing off it. Otherwise throw it away or measure portions carefully to avoid waste and leftovers! Remember: If in doubt, throw it out!
Food poisoning is caused mostly by improper and unhygienic handling of food – which can breed and spread harmful bacteria. Bacteria that cause food poisoning include salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli and several other pathogens. Refrigerating food and cooking it properly reduce the likelihood of bacterial food poisoning. Washing hands and utensils with soap and warm water will also reduce risk. In addition, separating the preparation of animal products and non-animal products can reduce the chance of cross-contamination – the spread of bacteria from one food to another. This also goes for stocking your fridge carefully! Fridge design is all wrong! Why are the salad drawers at the bottom of the fridge when raw meat is on the shelf above? Blood can drip down into or onto the salad! Keep your raw and cooked meats / fish separate and salad and dairy food above meats. I keep my raw meats in the salad drawers at the bottom and salady foods on the top shelves!
- Ginger root tea – make a strong cup of ginger tea and drink as often as you like. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory compounds and will settle your stomach when in distress and ease nausea.
- Charcoal – absorbs all the evil toxins in your body from the alcohol or bad food and hospitals and doctors use charcoal tablets to help rid the body quickly of these toxins. You can buy chewable charcoal tablets from pharmacies (make sure they are the type that are safe to eat, please don’t chew on BBQ charcoal!) and usually the dose is 1 gram of charcoal per 1 kg body weight but ask your pharmacist for better advice. I take around 6-7 tablets of 0.25 g charcoal. Although it will help you feel better and ease the stomach-ache, charcoal can leave you constipated afterwards so you’ll need to drink lots of fluids.
- A couple capsules of Andrographis – a Chinese herb can ease sickness. About 300 to 500 milligrams of Andrographis twice daily may alleviate symptoms.
- Take probiotics to help your good bacteria fight off the bad bacteria! Stock up on probiotic drinks and yogurts and eat as much as you like.
- Drink equal parts apple cider vinegar and water to flush and strip the bacteria off the stomach lining and intestinal walls. Apple cider vinegar has antibiotic and antiseptic properties. It’s a good source of fluorine, silicon and pectin, as well as trace minerals and enzymes that can help stabilize your system.
- Drink electrolyte drinks. Mix 1/2 tsp. honey and a small amount of table salt into a glass of fruit juice, and drink it to help hydrate the body. The fruit juice adds potassium, the honey adds glucose and the table salt adds sodium chloride, which will help replenish the body’s electrolytes, which have been lost in vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Eat bland food to settle the stomach like toast, crackers and bananas. Avoid fried fatty foods and spices, dairy and caffeine for a few days, even when vomiting and diarrhoea have eased as the stomach will still be unsettled. Best still is to avoid food for a few hours, just slowly sip drinks to keep hydrated and rest in bed. When feeling better re-introduce bland food and keep portions small.
- Don’t take over-the-counter medications for diarrhea that contain loperamide or diphenoxylate with atropine–these can slow down the rate at which bacteria and other germs are expelled from your body.
- Lemons – cut 4 lemons into slices keeping the skin on and make a strong tea out of them by just popping them into a jug and pouring boiled hot water on them. Steep until quite concentrated then drink. Add a little honey for a sweeter taste. The lemons are alkaline, which will kill off bacteria. Alternatively squeeze the juice of 4 lemons into a glass, add a bit of sugar or honey to taste and drink.
- Flat cola is a good alternative to charcoal and medicine if you are away from home or don’t have a pharmacy nearby. If you have a stomach bug with sickness and diarrhoea or food poisoning and can’t get to a doctor right away, grab a coca cola, bottle of still filtered water and a large glass. Fill half the glass with cola and the top half with water (the still water will take all the gas out of the cola immediately) and then drink it slowly. The gas will hurt and upset the stomach but flat cola will kill off any harmful bacteria and soothe the stomach for a while until you can seek medical advice. Have you ever left an old dirty coin in a glass of cola overnight? You’ll literally have a brand new super sparkly penny the next day as the cola eats away at all the dirt! That’s why you shouldn’t drink fizzy drinks generally because the sugar and ingredients rot away your teeth!
- In severe cases; where you have chills, fever, constant sickness and diarrhoea and intense gastritis seek medical attention immediately as some cases of food poisoning can be fatal. The doctors should give you strong antibiotics and in some cases an injection to stop the vomiting. Make sure you take probiotics though afterwards as antibiotics will kill both good and bad bacteria.
Alcohol poisoning is different from being drunk. In addition to the typical symptoms you see when someone has had too much drink, people with alcohol poisoning may experience shallow breathing, sweating, tremors, vomiting, hypothermia and blackouts that can last a couple of days not to even mention the hangover on top. Alcohol poisoning occurs when too much alcohol is consumed over a set period of time and the liver and kidneys cannot flush, digest or handle the toxin levels as quickly. As a rule of thumb, drink one alcoholic beverage per one hour and alternate with non alcoholic drinks to reduce the risk of alcoholic poisoning.
- KEEP HYDRATED! It is vital that you drink as much water as possible and empty the bladder just as often to rid the body of toxins quickly. Do not drink coffee as it will aggravate the stomach, dehydrate you further and can intensify the symptoms of the poisoning. Be careful not to drink over 6 litres of water in any 24hour period as you can dilute the natural salt and electrolytes in your body and brain and this is dangerous. Try drinking electrolyte sports drinks alongside the water to replace the salts, chemicals and glucose in your body. See above for an electrolyte drink recipe.
- Keep an eye on your breathing – shallow breathing is normal after a lot of alcohol but disrupted breathing isn’t. Keep warm and make sure you are not alone. Stay with a friend’s or relative and explain to them you think you have alcohol poisoning and ask them if they would keep an eye on you for a bit. Better getting a lecture the next day than ending up in a coma, getting hypothermia or choking on your own vomit.
- Get someone (sober) to monitor you – Your blood alcohol level can continue to increase even after you have passed out as it takes time for the alcohol to move from your digestive tract into your bloodstream. It is important to constantly supervise someone who has already passed out from drinking too much to make sure he does not slip into a coma.
Get pumped – It doesn’t sound nice and that’s because it isn’t but in severe cases you might need to get your stomach pumped. I’ve NEVER had that but it can help clear your stomach of alcohol before it gets into your blood.
For the hangover the next day – try bananas. You’ll need the potassium as you will have excreted this through your bladder by drinking lots of water and bananas give you energy as your body will feel like its taken a beating. Well your kidneys and liver have!
Ginger root tea-make a strong cup of ginger tea and drink as often as you like. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory compounds and will settle your stomach when in distress and ease nausea. Try the Lemon tea with honey above as well. In fact try all three together. Honey, lemon and ginger tea will work wonders!
Green tea – its naturally detoxifying and tastes great. It has virtually zero caffeine so will not dehydrate you.
Eat bland and small portions! Rice, toast and soup are good or fast for a few hours and just drink water to purge your body from toxins. Avoid spicy, greasy fatty foods, dairy and carbonated drinks as these will aggravate your stomach.
Take a mustard bath to eliminate toxins through the skin. Mustard increases circulation and draws toxins out from the organs. Add 2tbsp mustard powder to your warm running bath water and try adding eucalyptus as well to boost up the detox-ability.
Sleep, rest and definitely do not drive, even the next day as the alcohol will still be in your blood. Get some fresh air and try some low level exercise like yoga or walking.
General Stomach Upsets:
Some of us from time to time will get upset stomachs and we won’t really know why. It may be light food poisoning, nerves, stress, a chill or flu or your body just might be a bit off balance. Maybe your immune system is a bit low. Generally all of the remedies for food poisoning above will be suitable for general stomach upsets too so have a read through some of the ones that have more details. Here is a compact list of them below with a couple of other tips added in for general stomach upsets.
- Ginger, fennel, caraway seeds, peppermint and chamomile. Use these in boiling hot water either together or separately as tea infusions. Alternatively try snacking on caraway seeds.
- Baking soda mixed with water can ease stomach cramps and too much acid. Try one heaped tsp in a glass of water.
- Avoid dairy, milk and cheese can make you nauseous and cause gas, bloating and cramping.
- Charcoal. Get charcoal tablets from the pharmacist and chew them to bring the stomach into balance and eliminate toxins and bacteria.
- Avoid coffee, alcohol, smoking, fatty fried foods, hot spicy foods and sugar sweets.
- Snack on apples, bananas, crackers, soups, toast etc. keep it bland and light.
- Try a hot water bottle.This will improve circulation and help digestion. It may ease cramping and calm inflammation.
I’d be happy to answer or discuss any questions you might have in the comments section below. 🙂 These herbal remedies are to help ease temporary pain only. If your problem is chronic and lasts longer than a couple of days then you must see your doctor for other underlying problems and medical treatment.