Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tackling Tummy Bugs

We've all been there. That moment when it truly dawns on you that not only are you a parent to your children but often a very convenient receptacle for them to throw up in. Ah yes, the joys of parenthood! Thankfully, there are some really effective remedies out there that work quickly and effectively to tackle stomach infections, most of which you either have in your kitchen or can easily procure.

Tummylicious Tea

My mom's recipe for instant relief! Not being one to really adhere to exact proportions (except when I'm baking) I usually just throw in a handful each of:

-- Cardamom seeds (black is better but green will do)
-- Fennel seeds
-- Fresh mint (dried can work too)

Boil in clean, filtered water and then let it brew for 5-10 minutes. Voila! You have an instant fix for diarrhoea and children will love it because it smells and tastes yummy! Safe enough for a baby and not toxic in large amounts so you can dose throughout the day. For a baby I would give a teaspoon or so several times a day. For an older child, you can sweeten with honey and give as much as they'll take. You can also add some freshly grated ginger, especially if your child has abdominal cramps as ginger has anti-spasmodic properties.

Raw Honey (not for children under 1)

I've mentioned raw honey in several previous posts and so I'm sure you can tell by now that I love the stuff! Won't bore you with the detail again but the short of it is to give your child raw honey by the teaspoon several times a day and let it work its magic.


Probiotics are an essential part of any healthy tummy and aid in the replenishing of the intestinal flora which can get depleted through use of antibiotics. Go for Greek, plain yoghurt or kefir which is a fermented milk drink and has even more of a punch when it comes to that friendly bacteria we need.

Some BRAT for your brat

The BRAT diet is a well known approach to dealing with gastroenteritis and consists of adding bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast to your diet for a few days. While this is not recommended as the sole diet during a tummy bug, it can be incorporated along side other neutral foods like clear broths, yoghurt as mentioned above and potatoes to gently nourish the stomach while it's recovering. If your child is actively vomiting and cannot even retain water or liquids, you should concentrate on preventing dehydration first and then move to solids. While we're talking about diet, there are some foods you should avoid giving your child when he/she has a tummy bug, primarily dairy but also processed, sugary foods that weaken the immune system and prevent efficient healing.

Home made ORS

A child that is vomiting or has diarrhoea not only needs to be kept hydrated through constant water intake but also needs replenishment of lost electrolytes which are essential for a healthy functioning body. Over the counter ORS is usually laden with unnecessary chemicals and you can just as easily make one at home that serves the purpose and is good for your child too. The following is a WHO recommended ORS which gets the glucose/sodium balance correct but I have added some OJ which will also replenish Potassium.

Measure 1/2 tsp of salt into a large jug. Add 1 tsp of baking soda (not baking powder!). Add 6 tsp of brown or unbleached white sugar. Measure in 8 oz of orange juice. Add water up to the 1 litre mark and stir to combine.

Administer throughout the day and safe for babies too. 

Other useful therapies

-- Chamomile tea: also aids in relaxing the stomach and nerves!
-- Essential oils like German/Roman Chamomile, Lavender and Peppermint massaged onto the chest 
-- Look into homeopathic remedies such as Veratrum Album (cold sweat, very weak), Arsenicum Album (restless, burning stools, cause often spoiled meat), Colocynthis (cramps make your child double over and pressure helps), Podophyllum (watery, explosive and painless stools that are preceded by rumbling in the tummy).
-- Reflexology: see post on Constipation for relevant points on foot to massage

Most importantly, stay calm and keep your child calm too! Use Lavender, Rescue Remedy and Chamomile tea to help both of you relax. 

This too shall pass (literally)!



  1. What a gem this blog is, seriously. Thank you so much for doing what you're doing.

  2. That's a clever bit of humour, btw. "This too shall pass." Hyuck!