A few days ago I woke up bright and early to wish my husband a happy birthday, only to find out that he was running a fever of 101 and seemingly had the stomach flu. You know – chills, nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, the works. The poor guy. We had plans go out to his favorite restaurant, but he could barely get out of bed.
Depsite being called the stomach flu (or stomach bug), it’s not actually the flu. The flu is influenza, a virus that mainly affects the respiratory system. The stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, is actually an infection of the stomach and intestines that can be caused either by bacteria or a virus. Unfortunately, most medical recommendations for gastroenteritis include letting it run its course, hydrating and getting rest.
Instead of taking a watch and wait approach, letting the bacteria or virus work its way out of his system, I got my arsenal of natural remedies ready. These are the best natural remedies for the stomach flu.
Essential oils are my first line of defense in basically all situations, especially when someone is coming down with a sickness. For the stomach flu, I’ve focused on mainly two essential oil blends. The first is an immune boosting blend and the second is a tummy taming blend.
The immune boosting blend works wonders, purifies the air and works as a natural hand sanitizer, but most of all it boosts the immune system. This is critical when dealing with any sickness. Our immune system needs a boost!
I diffused this oil in our bedroom, where my husband was laid up and where I was hanging out next to him. I also regularly applied it to the bottom of both his and my feet. This helped his body fight off the stomach bug, and helped prevent me from getting it.
The digestive blend we used contains oils you’re likely familiar with for tummy troubles: peppermint, ginger and fennel, along with some other great oils. Because he was having severe stomach cramps, I made sure to give him this blend of essential oils in a softgel, which is easier than drinking it in water (or so I find). The brand I use is 100% pure with no synthetics or fillers, it is the only brand I will take internally or recommend taking internally. Be very careful with the oils you use, and feel free to contact me to find out more about that.
This blend of oils is great for a variety of ailments, including gas, bloating and indigestion. I actually don’t leave the house without it, and was so glad to have a bunch on hand for this stomach flu.
*to learn more about these oils and which brand I use, email me at [email protected]
Of course, I had just ran out of activated charcoal when my husband started to exhibit symptoms of the stomach flu. So naturally, because I’m obsessed with Amazon, I paid for same day shipping. We use this brand. I knew that taking activated charcoal even after his symptoms had started was better than taking none at all.
Activated charcoal has excellent adsorption properties, and no, that’s not a typo. Activated charcoal adsorbs, meaning it binds to material in the gastrointestinal tract like poisons, toxins, bacteria and viruses, and flushes them out. It’s routinely used in hospitals as well.
In fact, in 1831 at the French Academy of Medicine, Professor Touery drank a lethal dose of strychnine. It should have killed him, but because he combined it with activated charcoal, he was fine.
This makes activated charcoal an excellent natural remedy that everyone should have on hand. It’s effective against food poisoning, gas, upset stomach and you guessed it – the stomach flu. Because it binds to toxins, viruses, and bacteria in the stomach and intestines and flushes them out, activated charcoal can drastically improve recovery time and even prevent the stomach flu.
I won’t delve into recommended dosages because everyone is different. Discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Garlic, Raw Honey & Apple Cider Vinegar Shots
Garlic isn’t nicknamed “Russian Penicillin” for nothin’. The allicin in garlic makes it a very potent immune booster as well as virus and bacteria killer. In fact, studies have demonstrated that allicin is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic.
You may be surprised to find out that raw honey is also a powerful antibacterial, as studies have demonstrated. Or maybe you’re not surprised, I don’t know. I don’t know you. Honey contains hydrogen peroxide and a variety of other beneficial enzymes. The one catch is: it has to be truly raw honey. No cute little honey in plastic bear containers you picked up for a buck at the local dollar store. It has to be the real deal. I buy my honey from a local farm and it’s truly raw. You can probably do the same, check out your local farmers market. Or you can buy it here.
Apple cider vinegar is great for the digestive tract, it is rich in enzymes, helps kill of harmful bacteria, it improves stomach acid and can even improve blood glucose levels. Like the honey, it’s necessary to use a truly raw form of ACV. I recommend this brand.
To make the shot, chop up one medium sized garlic clove into tiny pieces. Add the garlic, one teaspoon of raw honey, one teaspoon of ACV and a bit of water to a shot glass. Mix together until the honey is dissolved (I used a chopstick to do this). Then chug it back and chase with water.
Detox Baths with Bentonite Clay
When used internally, bentonite clay is similar to activated charcoal in the sense that it adsorbs to toxins, binding to them and flushing them from the body. When used externally, it pulls toxins from the skin. When used externally, clay pulls toxins and harmful bacteria out via the skin. This is why it makes such a good mask for clogged pores, blackheads and acne. Bentonite clay is negatively charged, therefore it pulls positively charged ions (toxins) from the body.
To really amp up a bath when dealing with the stomach flu, add epsom salt. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, or MgSO4. The liver detoxes in two phases. The first phase is oxidation, the second is conjugation. Zinc is a huge player in phase one detoxification, while sulfate is a huge player in phase two. This is why epsom salt is great for detoxification on an internal and external level.
I add a cup of Epsom salt and a cup of bentonite clay to a bath, and I usually add essential oils as well. Mainly lavender and melaleuca.
You know how chicken soup is the go-to when you’re sick? Or maybe you’re grandma made you drink broth when you had a cold as a kid? Turns out, that’s not some old wives’ tale. There’s actual science behind it. But let’s get something out of the way first. I’m not talking about the chicken soup you get at some random restaurant. I’m not talking about Campbell’s. I’m not even talking about buying organic chicken broth.
I’m talking about the homemade, real-deal bone broth made from actual bones. No MSG. No processed leftover bits. Preferably the bones of organic/pastured animals, filtered water and some added vegetables and spices for flavor. You can get my recipe for bone broth here.
Bone broth is easy to digest, heals stomach lining, reduces inflammation and is loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and collagen. All of this is exactly what a person needs during the stomach flu.
Tummy Taming Teas + Natural Hydrators
You likely know that it’s incredibly important to stay hydrated when dealing with a stomach bug. This is often the dangerous part, not the stomach bug itself, but the resulting dehydration. While drinking water is fine, I found that it’s much more beneficial to drink teas that will soothe the stomach and boost the immune system. Here are the teas we focused on:
I also added a scoop of this collagen to the tea for extra gut healing properties.
You’ve likely heard that probiotics are essential for the gut and 90% of the immune system is located in the gut (thanks to that Erin Andrews commercial). Well, this is true. Probiotics are absolutely essential to a healthy gut and a properly functioning immune system. When dealing with a stomach bug, the immune system is weakened. It’s fighting off whatever bacteria or virus you’ve encountered. And chances are, you’re either vomiting, having diarrhea, or both. Which means you need to replenish your gut with good bacteria.
The best way to do this is with fermented foods: pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, etc. These are all inexpensive ways to provide the gut with a healthy dose of good bacteria. You can also use a probiotic, I use this brand.
I hope you’ve found this information helpful. It’s been essential in helping my husband quickly recover from the stomach flu. As always, I am not a medical doctor, this is not medical advice, but rather some natural options for you to discuss with your healthcare provider should you find yourself wrapped around the toilet with the stomach flu.