Chronic diarrhea is loose, watery stools that occur for a prolonged period. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse states that chronic diarrhea may be a sign of a chronic health problem. The typical American adult suffers about four episodes of diarrhea each year, although most of these bouts are acute diarrhea, or diarrhea that is short-lived. Some herbal remedies can help treat your diarrhea or its underlying cause. Check with your doctor before using any herbal remedy to treat diarrhea.
Diarrhea that lasts for more than several days may be indicative of a chronic disorder, including inflammatory bowel disease -- such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis -- or irritable bowel syndrome, according to MayoClinic.com. Some of the most common indications that you have diarrhea are abdominal pain, cramping, bloating and nausea that accompany your loose and watery stools. In some cases, you may also experience bloody stools or have a fever.
Common Herbal Remedies
In her book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," nutrition researcher Phyllis A. Balch states that several herbs effectively treat diarrhea, including blackberry root bark, chamomile, pau d'arco, cayenne and raspberry leaves. Fenugreek helps soothe your intestines and reduce your fever, while ginger helps treat your abdominal pain and cramps. Grapefruit seed extract is known for its anti-parasitic action, whereas marshmallow root calms your stomach and heals your inflamed intestines. Other helpful herbs may include slippery elm bark and wild oregano oil.
Best Herbal Remedy
One of the best herbal remedies for diarrhea is the leaves of the red raspberry plant, according to the University of Michigan Health System. In addition to treating diarrhea, red raspberry leaves are also used in treating canker sores, morning sickness, hot flashes and menstrual cramps. Red raspberry leaves help decrease menstrual bleeding, decrease intestinal spasms and strengthen the walls of your uterus. Red raspberry leaves possess astringent action and are high in tannins -- two important factors that help stop your diarrhea, notes UMHS.
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Chronic diarrhea is cause for concern. If you develop diarrhea that lasts for more than several days, visit your doctor for an assessment of your condition. Your doctor can refer you to a gastrointestinal specialist or suggest treatment options based on your symptoms and presentation. If you are considering herbal remedies as a treatment option for your chronic diarrhea, ask your physician about helpful herbs that cause few or no side effects. Some herbs should not be used if you have other medical conditions or allergies.
- MayoClinic.com: Diarrhea
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2010
- University of Michigan Health System: Red Raspberry
Robyn Hughes has been writing since 2008 about health, nutrition, fitness and botanical medicine. She is a naturopathic physician and freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in cognitive science from Indiana University and a doctoral degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Ore.