As the infecting organisms of food poisoning invade your intestines, the symptoms can be debilitating–nausea, stomach pain, loose bowel movements and slight fever. It often gets worse before it gets better. You're likely to start vomiting and have ongoing abdominal cramps–and just feel lousy.

The good news is that natural medicine can shorten an episode of food poisoning dramatically. Here are my favorite methods....

  • Take activated charcoal. At the first sign of food poisoning, take two capsules of activated charcoal (available from natural-food stores) and repeat every four waking hours until your symptoms are gone. Toxins attach to the surface of the activated charcoal and are drawn out of the stomach and intestines.
  • Use antiseptic herbs. Oregon grape root, uva ursi and gingerroot will help kill the organism causing your food poisoning. You can use any of these herbs individually or buy a tincture that contains all three of them for the greatest benefit.

Typical adult dose: Sixty drops (about one-quarter teaspoon) in one ounce of water every four waking hours for up to three days.

  • Try carob powder. Unsweetened carob powder, available in bulk at most natural-food grocers, will ease diarrhea. Add two teaspoons of carob powder and two teaspoons of slippery elm powder to one-quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce. Eat the mixture slowly throughout the day. Repeat daily until symptoms are gone.
  • Drink clear liquids. If you limit your diet to mostly clear liquids, you can recluce diarrhea by slowing down the activity of your gut.

Good choices: Vegetable broth...peppermint, chamomile and/or raspberry leaf herbal teas... and plain water.

Also helpful: Try rice water-cook one cup of brown or white rice in four cups of water, strain off the liquid and drink six ounces several times a day. This gives you starch, which slows diarrhea, without taxing your gut to digest the rice.

Caution: Seek prompt medical attention if you experience diarrhea for more than three days. Also see a doctor if you have a fever above 101 5°F...blood in the stool or in vomit...severe abdominal pain.. lack of urination...or more than one episode of difficulty swallowing, vision changes, fainting or dizziness. These can be signs that infection has spread throughout your body.

*Check with your doctor before using herbal therapies.

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