When there is a problem with the digestive system, then the stools may be voided in extremely watery form. This indicates the presence of water in the stools, which leads to dehydration. This condition is known as diarrhea.
In Ayurveda, diarrhea is known as Atisara. Vitiation in any of the three doshas can cause atisara. However, the vitiation of vata dosha is particularly responsible as it brings more water to the intestine and lowers the digestive fire which causes diarrhea.
The vata type of diarrhea is characterized by abdominal cramping and gas in the abdomen. The stools contain more water and less fecal matter. The pitta type of diarrhea show yellowish stools which have an offensive odor. The kapha type of diarrhea is whitish in color with copious water and little mucus.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Diarrhea
Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna)
The bark of the arjuna tree is useful in the treatment of diarrhea. The bark is taken as a decoction in dosages of 15 to 30 grams per day.
Babul (Acacia arabica)
The babul tree is very useful in preventing diarrhea. Each part of the babul tree is useful. Its leaves can be taken as a mixed dose with black cumin seeds, its bark can be taken as an infusion with water and even its gum can be taken as a syrup.
Bael (Aegle marmelos)
Bael is very effective for the treatment of diarrhea which is not accompanied by fever. The unripe or half-ripe fruit is eaten for best results.
Banyan (Ficus bengalensis)
The buds of the banyan trees are the beneficial parts. These must be soaked in water overnight and the infusion must be taken in the morning.
Belleric Myroblan (Terminalia belerica)
Known as bahera in Hindi, this is one of the ingredients of the extremely useful Triphala. The pulp of its fruit is taken to cure most stomach problems, including indigestion and diarrhea.
Bishop’s Weed (Trachyspermum ammi)
The oil extracted from the seeds of the Bishop’s weed is useful in the treatment of diarrhea. Just two to three drops of this oil per dosage is sufficient.
Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)
Black nightshade leaves are used in the treatment of diarrhea. The leaves are taken in the form of an infusion with the juice of other liquids.
Butea (Butea monosperma)
The butea tree yields a gum which is beneficial in the treatment of diarrhea. It is especially useful in women and children that are suffering from diarrhea.
Chebulic Myroblan (Terminalia chebula)
Known as harad in Hindi, it is the second ingredient of Triphala. The pulp of the unripe fruit of this plant is given along with honey for better results.
Dill (Anethum sowa)
The oil obtained from the dill is used for the treatment of diarrhea. Dill oil is so mild that it is also an ingredient used in the medicines for treating baby colic.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum)
Fenugreek seeds are useful in the treatment of digestive problems including diarrhea.
Indian Gooseberry (Emblica officinalis)
Known as amalaki in Hindi, this is the third ingredient in the preparation of Triphala. It is the richest source of vitamin C in the world.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Diarrhea
Fasting is the first step in the Ayurvedic treatment of diarrhea. At this time warm water should be drunk throughout the day. This helps to flush out the toxins in the bowels as much as possible.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatment for Diarrhea
Once the causative dosha is identified, the treatment is done according to type.
For vata type of diarrhea, the medicine of choice is Kutajarishta. It is taken in quantities of 15 ml thrice a day for fifteen days.
For pitta type of diarrhea, the medicine of choice is Bilwadi choorna. It is taken in a teaspoonful amount thrice a day for fifteen days.
For kapha type of diarrhea, two medicines are usually prescribed. One is the Gangadhara choorna, which is taken in 1 gram amount twice a day for fifteen days. The other is Jatiphaladi vati, which is taken in 250 milligrams amount twice a day for fifteen days.
(4) Home Medications
Mix equal parts of the babul tree with black cumin seeds. Take this in dosages of 12 grams thrice a day.
Prepare an infusion of cinnamon in water and boil it. This must be taken half an hour after meals. It takes care of almost all digestive problems and also relieves flatulence.
Mix some tender curry leaves with honey and take them early in the morning. If there is vomiting, then the bark of this tree must be taken.
Grind the seeds of the Indian plum (jamun) and mango into a fine powder. Take two teaspoonfuls of this powder mixture in a glass of buttermilk. This treatment gives quick results.
Boil raw bananas and peel them. Put some ghee in a vessel and put some pieces of cloves in them. Put the bananas in them. Then introduce curds, coriander, turmeric and salt. This will be a very tasty banana dish which has special effects on the treatment of diarrhea.