As with constipation, diarrhea is an important symptom that can have many causes. These range from intestinal
infection and food sensitivities, to colitis and anxiety. As with much else in herbalism, this highlights the importance of accurate diagnosis
and the dangers of simply alleviating a symptom. The diarrhea of colitis is treated differently from `Delhi Belly' or its New World relative
Astringents are the most appropriate for alleviation of the symptom. The anti-microbials will be essential
if there is an infection involved. Problems with digestion and possible malabsorption should be considered and thus bitters are indicated.
Associated pain due to abdominal cramping will eased by carminatives and anti-spasmodics.
Many different astringent remedies have reputations of being specifics. Whether they are specifics or simply good examples of a
general effect of astringency is difficult to say. Meadowsweet may well be the best gentle treatment for diarrhea in general as it
seems to tone the lining of the small intestine. It is especially helpful in childhood diarrhea. Other excellent remedies include
Agrimony, Ladies Mantle and Cranesbill. The stronger astringents such as Oak Bark should only be used as a last resort.
One possible prescription
This supplies the following:
- Chamomile equal parts as an infusion drunk regularly throughout the day until symptoms subside.
- Astringents (Agrimony, American Cranesbill)
- Carminatives (Chamomile)
- Anti-spasmodics (Chamomile)
- Nervines (Chamomile)