5 Herbal Remedies to avoid gastrointestinal upsets or travelers Diarrhea


Herbal Remedies To Prevent Travelers Diarrhea Travelers visiting many tropical, sub-tropical
and developing countries run an increased risk of suffering a gastrointestinal illness. These are usually caused by bacteria, parasites
and viruses. The microscopic bugs at the top of these rather
gut wrenching (for all the wrong reasons…) charts are E Coli, the staphylococci, shigella
and salmonella species, campylobacter jejuni, cryptosporidiosis, and hepatitis A. Infected food is the biggest culprit, with
water coming in second. Ice cream, cocktails served in re-used coconut
shells, raw seafood, ice, and food from street vendors are potential risks that can interrupt
your adventure with less salacious memories to pass on to family and friends. The nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea from
such acute infections usually sorts itself out after a few days (unless of course you
have contracted hepatitis A, or something like giardia). Certainly, if you are unlucky enough to be
sick after a few days, you should see a doctor. Fortunately, there are remedies you can take
that will strengthen your immune and digestive system and hopefully give your body a better
chance at dealing with its new environment. The herbs I describe below would make an excellent
travelers mix. The best form to take them in would be as
a tincture, which can be made up by going to a local herbal dispensary if you have one
in your area, or alternatively, a local herbalist. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) Astragalus is a good anti-viral, anti-bacterial,
and anti-microbial. The polysaccharides in it support the immune
system. Astragalus increases the activity of phagocytes,
natural killer cells, and the levels of antibodies in the blood. Picrorrhiza (Picrorrhiza kurroa) This is an Ayurvedic herb that is best given
in low doses, as higher doses can cause diarrhea and flatulence in more sensitive people. Its a bitter herb, so it stimulates the digestive
system. It is also anti-malarial, supports the immune
system, and protects the liver. Picrorrhiza encourages all aspects of the
immune system, such as B and T cell activity, and the activity of phagocytes. This herb is used in Ayurvedic medicine for
liver related problems and immune problems. Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) Goldenseal is a gut antibiotic, which for
example helps reduce adhesive e coli, and encourages some immune functions of the body. For example, berberine, which is one of its
active constituents, has been shown to increase the activity of macrophages, which digest
bacteria and viruses. Barberry also contains berberine, so more
information on this very valuable constituent is below. Goldenseal, being a bitter herb, it is also
good for the digestive system. If you are pregnant or suffer from hypertension,
however, you should not take goldenseal. Barberry (Berberis Vulgaris) Berberine, one of the active constituents
in this herb is an anti protozoic, which helps protect travelers against giardia, leishmania,
and treponema pallidum. Other notable effects of berberine are its
activity against giardia, dysentery, and candida, as well as the cholera vibrio. The active constituents berberine and palmatine
are also anti-bacterial. And berbamine, which like berberine is an
alkaloid, is a strong anti-bacterial which seems to work by increasing white blood cells
and platelets. The constituent palamtine is a uterine stimulant,
however, and as such pregnant women shouldn’t take this herb. Barberry is another gut antibiotic, but it
is also anti-malarial (though no self-respecting herbalist would recommend anything other than
doctor’s treatment if you do contract malaria). Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea or augustifolia) Echinacea is an immune stimulant. Its main active constituents are the polysaccharides
and the alkamides (especially the isobutylamides), which are both immune stimulating, and the
polyaceytlenes, which are antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. Echinacea supports the activity of phagocytes,
which are part of the immune system, and is also considered anti-viral and anti-microbial. One of the ways echinacea appears to work
is by inhibiting the action of the enzyme hyaluronidase. This enzyme is used by micro-organisms to
break down the connective tissue that prevents them from entering and spreading through the
body. For these reasons, it is excellent as part
of a travelers remedy mix. These remedies are not designed as a prophylactic,
like a vaccine. They work on the principle of giving your
body an increased chance at staying healthy. But nothing replaces common sense. Wash your hands before eating. Don’t drink ice or from water bottles where
the seal has been broken. Drink cocktails in glasses, not cute but probably
old coconut shells. Don’t eat anything fresh that you can’t peel. Don’t eat ice cream or drink unpasteurized
milk. Be wary of eating from street vendors. Some people do, and are fine. But they are a risk factor with gastrointestinal
upsets. Its a good idea to pack some oral hydration
salts as a precaution.

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