I realize that diarrhea is not a common topic among friends. The subject is enough to make most people squeamish and uncomfortable. But the truth of the matter is, diarrhea can be serious if left untreated.
Children are especially susceptible to dehydration, which can result after only a day or two of diarrhea. Our bodies are made up largely of water, so a sudden fluid loss can be life-threatening.
There are plenty of products on the market that help to quell diarrhea, and most of them seem to work. The problem is the effect they have on the liver and the brain. Many anti-diarrhea products contain aluminum-hydroxide, an ingredient that is known to cause constipation. An occasional dose of this substance is not likely to do harm, but aluminum and other metals are residual. This means that they build up inside the body over the course of time. Our bodies simply have a hard time flushing them out.
The liver is the biggest collector of residual waste products. Its function is to filter impurities out of the body, and like all filters, it can get clogged. An aluminum-clogged liver results in a bigger build-up of toxins. Picture a water filter that is gunked up with minerals and dirt. It is no longer effective in removing impurities. The same thing can happen to a human liver.
Aluminum can also collect in the brain. It is not completely understood how this metal is carried to the brain, or why it likes to remain there. But autopsies done on Alzheimer patients revealed high amounts of aluminum in their brains.
The bottom line is, aluminum-laden products should not be ingested. Therefore, anti-diarrhea products containing aluminum should also be avoided. Of course, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers didn't use aluminum-hydroxide to treat diarrhea. They learned from their mothers how to calm the intestines with a natural remedy.
Cooked rice has a binding effect that constipates the bowels. The bland nature of rice also soothes an irritated colon and reduces inflammation.
The best natural diarrhea remedy, however, is blackberry leaf tea.
Raspberry leaf tea is also effective, and is easier to find on store shelves. I happen to live in an area where blackberries grow wild. Every year I pick some of the leaves and dry them. I store them in a clean, dry container with a tight-fitting lid. A glass canister works best.
At the first sign of diarrhea in any of my family members, I boil some filtered water and pour it over the dried leaves. This can be done in a tea pot, or the leaves can be added to a pan full of cold water. Bring the water slowly to a boil. Then remove from the heat, and allow the tea to steep. Strong tea works best on stopping diarrhea quickly.
Have the patient sip the warm tea throughout the day. Several cups may be needed to accomplish the mission, but this remedy really works. Sweeten the tea with honey if it tastes too bitter to drink straight.
Blackberry and raspberry leaves are gentle on the stomach and soothing to the intestines. They also have a hint of berry flavor, which is pleasing to the palate. And don't forget about the saving grace for the liver and brain!
As diarrhea remedies go, blackberry leaves are my cup of tea!