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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to stop diarrhea naturally?

Stop diarrhea naturally

How to stop diarrhea naturally?

Rice water
One natural diarrhea treatment that is simple to prepare and highly effective is rice water.
This is the water from cooking rice or rice porridge. If you want a better, more nutritious version, use brown rice instead of polished white rice, and add a pinch of sea salt, or a small square of kombu seaweed while cooking. Otherwise, just ordinary rice water will do.
This simple diarrhea treatment not only helps to stop diarrhea, but also to rehydrate the person who is suffering from diarrhea and losing body fluids. It is said to have save millions of lives of rural children in developing countries who suffered from diarrhea.
Within medical circles, credit for this diarrhea treatment has been given to Prof Wong Hock Boon, an eminent pediatrician from Singapore. When the good professor died on 28 December 2008, a tribute stated:
The use of rice-water for oral rehydration in the management of acute gastroenteritis was pioneered by him, and this led to a new and highly cost-effective approach to diarrhoeal diseases in the developing world.

Prof Wong Hock Boon did not, of course, "pioneer" this diarrhea treatment. Mothers in traditional Asian societies knew how to stop diarrhea with rice water for ages! What Prof Wong Hock Boon did was write about it in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet in 1981. He being a professor, other doctors took note, tried the same treatment and found that it works. And that led to millions of lives being saved.
If a natural health practitioner had written about it, well... you know what will happen. It will be poo-poohed as an "old wives' tale".
Yet Prof Wong Hock Boon was able to get his paper published in a highly prestigious medical journal even though he did not fully understand why rice water effectively helped to stop diarrhea. In a report about Prof Wong's method of how to stop diarrhea, the August 1981 Issue No 6 of Dialogue on Diarrhoea wrote:
The means by which rice water helps to stop diarrhoea are still being researched. One explanation could be that starch-like sugars tend to draw less fluid out of the body and into the gut compared with a similar amount of simple sugar such as glucose. Some babies with diarrhoea can digest starch more easily than simple sugars.

Dialogue on Diarrhoea also noted:
Professor Wong and his colleagues have found that many babies who have not responded to other rehydration solutions respond well to rice water. If diarrhoea starts again with the re-introduction of milk, extra rice water is given with additional rice porridge...

I find it interesting that:
  • Prof Wong and colleagues still used "other rehydration methods" first when they already knew that rice water was more effective.
  • They noted that re-introduction of milk often led to diarrhea, yet they did not stop milk to stop diarrhea!
This only goes to show how medical doctors, in spite of their discoveries, observations and their supposed brilliance, remain limited in their way of thinking and their practice of medicine.

How to stop diarrhea - the yin and yang way
I don't know if medical researchers have since found out why rice water works as a diarrhea treatment. I could not find any research references. The Oriental theory of yin and yang, however, does offer an explanation. The principle of yin and yang looks at phenomena in terms of energy. From this perspective, diarrhea can be considered to have expanding / downward / rapid energy.
This energy is countered by rice, which is a plant that grows upwards, slowly and forms a compact / contracted grain. Moreover, in the five elements theory, which is an extension of the theory of yin and yang (but too complicted to explain here), rice is considered a grain that nourishes the large intestines and lungs. So rice probably works better than other grains even though, from the nutritional perspective, it is just starch.
And why rice water instead of rice to stop diarrhea? Probably because in water or soup form, the "essence" of the rice is more readily absorbed. In Chinese medicine, a lot of remedies are taken in the form of soups and herbal brews.

How to stop diarrhea - bancha twig tea
Another traditional diarrhea treatment, based on the same principle of using slow, upward, contracted energy, is bancha twig tea or kukicha. This is tea made from tea twigs rather than tea leaves. Nowadays, it is mostly available in macrobiotic and organic foods stores, with the original product coming from Japan. However, twig tea used to be also consumed in China in the past, especially by the poor. It is the tea drunk by samsui women, a band of unmarried women who migrated to Southeast Asia early last century, to work as manual construction laborers.
For stronger contracting energy to stop diarrhea, a few drops of shoyu or natural soy sauce may be added to bancha twig tea.

Umeboshi / Kuzu
Alternatively, half to one umeboshi, a pickled sour plum, may also be added to the drink.
Umeboshi is an unusual fruit, actually a type of apricot, that drops from the tree while it is still hard, It is then pickled in salt and widely eaten as a salty snack in Eastern Asian cultures, including China and Japan. The fact that umeboshi is a hard fruit, and then pickled in salt, gives it strong contracting energy to counter the loose, expanding energy of diarrhea.
Umeboshi may also be mixed with kuzu to stop diarrhea. Kuzu is a starch made from the gigantic root of the kudzu plant. Although being a root, kuzu has downward energy, it is a very yang / contracted root - the starch is densely packed and the starch particles are very small, compared to the starch from other roots like yam, tapioca or potato.
This can be observed for example, by mixing different types of starch with cold water. Stir the various starch mixtures and you will see that the kuzu settles down the fastest. Both umeboshi and kuzu are very healing for the entire digestive tract and they act as natural remedies for any digestive problem, from the mouth to the anus. Umeboshi and kuzu not only can stop diarrhea, but also vomiting, nausea, indigestion, flatulence and other digestive problems.
Kuzu, in addition, is rich in minerals and it enhances energy. This is particularly helpful for diarrhea patients, as diarrhea tends to make a person lose minerals and feel weak.

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