Mama's Toolbox Series #3: Stomach Flu // Food Poisoning
Lately I’ve been getting calls of panic from parents saying: “My kid is puking what do I do?” Sometimes, the child also has diarrhea, sometimes they don’t. Both my kids and I got some sort of stomach bug in the last few weeks. And I’ve personally fallen ill to food poisoning more times than I can count or remember in my life. Here are some tools I’ve gathered from my experience in both supporting my clients, my children and myself during times of stomach flu and food poisoning.
Firstly, it is important to know when to seek medical attention for your child. Please visit Seattle Children’s Hospital Vomiting without Diarrhea and Vomiting with Diarrhea for information on when to seek medical support. Also, my #1 advice to parents is always listen to your gut. You know your child better than any medical professional or anyone else. Trust that your intuition will guide you to do what’s best.
The following tips are for those with mild to moderate symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. (See above links). The goal is to support the body as it is purging because it is purging for a reason and we need to trust the body’s intelligence. Here are some things to do:
#1 Preventative Care: Concord Grape Juice: Everyone in the household, even those not feeling symptomatic, drink this as soon as someone is showing signs of a stomach flu. The juice changes the ph in the intestinal tract preventing the virus from binding to the intestinal wall and it also anti-viral properties.
#2 Electrolytes: The greatest risk during an episode of vomiting or diarrhea is dehydration. The first thing to do is make sure your child is getting enough fluids and electrolytes to replace what is being lost in the purge of the bowels. I like Keto Chow Electrolytes that can be found on Amazon. [Protip: Make sure that whenever you buy any kind of medicine, remedy, vitamin or food from Amazon that you are buying from the actual manufacturer of the product.]
#3 Cell Salts: Cell Salts are called the easy homeopathy and work to repair dysfunction on a cellular level. They work quickly and effectively and I recommend every parent have all 12 cell salts handy at home along with this book.
Natrium Sulphuricum 6x: for nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
Natrium Phosphoricum 6x: for bloating and gas.
Magnesium Phosphoricum 6x: for cramping and colic pains.
#4 Homeopathy: In the homeopathic model, the symptoms are what make the difference not the diagnosis. So whether one is suffering from a stomach virus or a bacteria of the gut, what will point us in the right direction are the symptoms. There are many remedies indicated for vomiting and diarrhea. The correct remedy is found when you are able to match the person’s symptoms to the closest remedy symptoms. I recommend every parent have a basic homeopathy kit (preferably 50 remedy kit) as you never know which remedy you will need and when.
Here are some of the most indicated homeopathic remedies for vomiting and diarrhea, but there could be one indicated for your child that is not on this list. Use a good homeopathic book or my mini materia medica and repertory (which you get sent to you if you get the kit linked above) if the below remedies do not work to bring relief and complete the disease process.
Arsenicum album: Food poisoning and stomach flu. Restless, fearful, anxious, physically debilitated. Chills and thirsty for small sips of water.
Cocculus: Nausea and vomiting from motion sickness.
Lycopodium: Food poisoning from seafood. Bloating and colic pains. Belching or passing gas brings relief, even if just momentarily. Angry disposition.
Ipecac: Extreme nausea. Vomiting and diarrhea at the same time. Vomiting does not bring relief. Not thirsty.
Nux Vomica: In France, this is the first remedy given anytime there is any kind of stomach upset. You can try to give this first if you don’t know what else to give. Symptoms of nux vomica, strong need but inability to vomit, straining to vomit. Vomiting brings relief. The person may be restless, irritable, angry, frustrated and feels the need to work or be productive. Hangover medicine.
Sulphur: Discharges and gas smell like rotten eggs. Yellow vomit or diarrhea.
Veratrum Album: Extreme nausea. Projectile Vomiting and diarrhea at the same time. Very active and busy, restless. Desire for sour or salty food.
#5 Traditional/Folk Medicine
Rosemary Essential Oil: Put a few drops of a good quality pure essential oil of rosemary in water and drink it. It should bring instant relief. I got this practice from my teacher in Prophetic Medicine.
Rose Water or Rose Tea: This is what we use in the SWANA region (Southwest Asia/North Africa) to bring relief from nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. You can put a few drops of rose water in a glass of water and drink or make a tea from rose petals.
Salt: To cleanse the bowels and if the person can stomach it, have them drink of glass of warm water with a teaspoon to a tablespoon of unrefined salt dissolved in it. My preferred salts are Himalayan Pink Salt and Redmond’s Real Salt as sea salt is now contaminated with micro-plastics. This will also help to replace lost minerals. I also got this from my teacher in Prophetic Medicine.
Anise Tea: This is an Egyptian favorite as it is indigenous to Egypt. It's been mentioned in ancient Egyptian medical texts from over 4000 years ago. It's oh so soothing to the tummy. It relieves nausea, gas, colic, and it's an antispasmodic relieving muscle spasms associated with vomiting and diarrhea. It's also anti-microbial, as it hinders the growth and distribution of certain strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi. It's rich in iron, which is needed by the blood to fight infections. This is our primary medicine for babies with acid reflux and colic in Egypt. Soak some anise seeds in some hot water, strain and drink!
#6 Additional Tips:
Probiotics: Probiotics can help fight the virulent bacteria or viruses in the gut by repopulating the gut with healthy bacteria. Here is a good one from Prescript Assist. Probiotics in capsules can be opened and emptied into any drink or food.
Activated Charcoal: This is what is used when someone has ingested a poison or has overdosed with drugs-- their stomach is pumped with activated charcoal. This absorbs everything in the gut (good and bad) and flushes it out through the liver and kidneys. Make sure to give this two hours away from anything nutritious or medicinal as it will also pull that out the good stuff too. It's also excellent for absorbing gas.
Bone Broth: Bone broth is an excellent way to heal the gut while also bringing nourishment to the body. Usually when someone is feeling nauseas, even though they may be hungry, they are not able to eat actual food. Bone broth is a nutrient dense drink, replete with minerals, protein and nutrients and is easily digestible.
Ginger and Nettles Tea: Ginger is universally well known for bringing relief from nausea, diarrhea or vomiting. And it is also an immune booster as well as a gut cleanser. I recommend adding a nettles infusion to the mix because it is rich with minerals, many herbalists call nettles the multi-vitamin of herbs. It’s a great way to bring relief while also replenishing minerals and nutrients lost from the purge.
#7 To Stop the Purging: This is only to be used if the purging is so excessive and you are not able to maintain hydration.
Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay is a powerful detoxifier and can be used in two ways. You can either mix a teaspoon of it into a glass of water and have the person drink it. This will flush the bowels while also solidifying any loose matter. It can also be used to detox through the skin by having your child play with some clay and some water in with their feet and hands. Do not pour the remains into the drains however as it will clog them up. You can have your child play with it in a smaller tub or bowl that you place in the bathtub and discard the remains outside. Plants love bentonite clay too, so you can pour it into your plants.
If there is also a fever please see my blog Fever? Let it Burn: Tips for Fevers.
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