Home Remedies for Gastroenteritis

Your stomach is not feeling so well and nausea is starting to rear its ugly head. Perhaps you chose the wrong ‘special’ at the diner or came in contact with contaminated water. Whatever the case, home remedies for gastroenteritis can help calm the symptoms that typically have you curled up in the bed with the covers over your head.

What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is the name given to any infection or inflammation that affects the entire digestive tract. Sometimes, the sickness is referred to as gastric flu, stomach flu, and stomach virus. Risk factors associated with gastroenteritis includes eating improperly prepared foods, drinking contaminated water, traveling to a region with poor sanitation, and swimming in waters that have been contaminated.

Causes and Symptoms

The most common causes of gastroenteritis are bacteria and viruses, such as norovirus, adenovirus and astrovirus, and rotavirus, which is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in infants and young children. In some cases, the sickness is caused by protozoa, funguses, and worms [1]. Other patients have developed gastroenteritis as a result of food poisoning (another form of bacterial infection) or the ingestion of toxic chemicals. Often times, when you receive a diagnosis for gastroenteritis, it is usually attributed to an unknown virus that is most likely a member of the rotavirus family.

A patient with gastroenteritis usually experiences nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a fever. Other symptoms include fatigue and muscle aches. The abdomen can become distended and tender. Since the sickness is caused by a virus, it will just have to run its course. Viral gastroenteritis symptoms usually appear within one to three days after being infected. For some, the symptoms last an average of two days, but others can suffer for up to 10 days.

Gastroenteritis Home Remedies

Until you get back control of your stomach and digestive tract, you are going to need to take it easy and choose foods and drink that assist in your recovery. The following home remedies for gastroenteritis will help you make the right choices that will ease your symptoms:

a) Ginger Ale:

Sipping on flat ginger ale can help calm the feeling of nausea that comes with gastroenteritis.

b) Caraway Tea:

Prepare a cup of caraway tea that is consumed while on an empty stomach. Add one teaspoon of caraway seeds to one cup of boiling water. Cover the drink and set to the side for 10 minutes. After straining the content, sip the tea throughout the day.

c) Heat:

Applying gentle heat to the abdomen region can help relieve spasm and pain associated with gastroenteritis. A warm compress (like a moistened warm washcloth) will do the trick.

d) Lime Juice:

If you repeatedly drink lime juice, you might be able to calm some of the gastroenteritis symptoms that you are experiencing. Prepare the remedy by squeezing a lime into a glass of water and adding a punch of salt and five teaspoons of sugar.

e) Cold Compress:

With all of the throwing up and other distress that gastroenteritis causes to the body, you may want to apply a cold compress or ice bag to your throat, spine, stomach and abdomen for relief. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes.

f) Clear Liquids:

Since gastroenteritis causes you to vomit and experience diarrhea, you lose a lot of essential vitamins and electrolytes. To recoup your losses, you should sip on clear liquids, such as apple juice, fat-free chicken broth, and of course, water. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, can also help get your system back on track.

g) Chicken:

To boost your immunity against viral infections, it is suggested to eat unseasoned, protein-packed chicken when you are able to eat solid foods again.

h) Apples:

Apples offer support to your intestinal system, so when you are ready to reintroduce solid foods into your diet, you may want to try a bowl of applesauce or dish of baked apples (without the cinnamon and sugar).

i) Baking Soda and Citrus Juices:

To treat symptoms of gastroenteritis, add ¼ teaspoon to a glass of boiled water and drink it. Follow up with a glass of citrus juice (such as lemon, orange or pineapple) with a bit of honey, rock salt and ½ teaspoon of corn syrup in it. This combination of liquids will give you a boost of energy in your weakened state. Only drink when you are able to hold down liquids.

j) Garlic:

Eating garlic provides your body with an antibiotic boost that works on eliminating bacteria from your system. Garlic is also known to support the natural bacterial flora located in the intestine that can assist in your recovery.

k) Weak Tea:

To make sure that you do not upset your stomach, consider drinking a cup of weak tea.

l) Peppermint:

Peppermint has the power to soothe the stomach when fighting a bug – try sipping on a cup of peppermint tea.

m) Apple Cider Vinegar:

Add one teaspoon of the vinegar and one teaspoon of honey to a glass of water, and drink.

n) Lemon Juice:

Add freshly squeezed lemon juice to a glass of water, and drink two to three times a day to ease gastroenteritis symptoms.

o) Ginger:

Helping to calm digestive issues and fight gastroenteritis symptoms, ginger is a good item to consume when sick. You can slowly sip on ginger tea or chew on a piece of crystallized ginger.

p) Say ‘No’ to Spices:

As your stomach heals, you probably want to avoid eating foods that are spicy or filled with oil and grease. When you feel better, gradually reintroduce these ingredients into your diet.

q) Avoid Alcohol:

It is suggested to avoid the consumption of alcohol when fighting the symptoms of gastroenteritis.

r) Rice or Barley Water:

To soothe the stomach battling the effects of gastroenteritis, try sipping warm rice or barley water when you are able to keep down liquids.


[1] Diseases [Fever to Hypothermia] Volume 4 by Grolier Education; pg. 28.