Skip to main content


In the naturopathic context diarrhoea is seen as process of elimination, a way in which the body can eliminate toxins and impurities. For example if you pick up a nasty gut bug then diarrhoea is the way the body will clear it. Taking a medication to stop the diarrhoea is not necessarily the best approach as if the body can eradicate it then it is most certainly a better option than keeping the infection as a life partner.

Most importantly, diarrhoea longer that a day or two should be investigated. The risks associated with extended diarrhoea cannot be ignored and may include long-term health effects. If you find yourself still clutching the toilet bowl after a couple of days then make sure you are properly investigated.

If it’s simple diarrhoea, work out what has caused it – nerves are a common trigger, food intolerances such as lactose intolerance are often to blame; and food poisoning from uncooked chicken obviously needs different support. If nerves are the reason then addressing the anxiety and settling the tummy with herbs such as Chamomile and Lemon Balm may be all that is required. Some slippery elm powder mixed into a paste and eaten by the spoon can slow the bowels down pretty quickly. If lactose intolerance is the reason (i.e. when you drink milk you find yourself sitting on the toilet within a short time) then obviously avoid the milk and take some probiotics. Some of the probiotic strains (bifidobacterium especially) have been shown to increase the enzyme that helps break down lactose. This doesn’t mean you can then go and eat dairy in excess but probiotic supplementation is certainly a good approach to support you and prevent diarrhoea in the future.

If you’ve had a questionable meal then probiotics are essential. Make sure that they are multi-strain, high potency and taken frequently. A useful friend to probiotics is a live yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii. When taken in combination with probiotics most cases of diarrhoea are settled relatively quickly. If you’ve had a nasty gut bug or have found that the infection hasn’t cleared for a while, thorough testing may be indicated and other stronger preparations such as specific herbal medicines and essential oils may be required.