Home remedies for gastrointestinal flu


The typical seasonal gastrointestinal flu describes in most cases an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that has little to do with the actual flu pathogen, but is triggered by a wide variety of bacteria and viruses.

The gastrointestinal flu can occur violently and suddenly with severe diarrhea and vomiting and thus pose an acute danger to weak people, the elderly and children.

Likewise, in the vast majority of cases, the symptoms subside by themselves within a few days. Normally, the body conquers the infection itself within a maximum of a week. During this healing phase, the body can be supported by various home remedies, but medication is rarely needed.
The purpose of home remedies is not to have to look for help in the pharmacy, but at best to find it in the kitchen.

Please also read: Homeopathy for gastrointestinal infections, gastrointestinal virus - causes and treatment

Which home remedies can help?

The various home remedies attack various parts of the body and help to alleviate the symptoms of gastrointestinal flu. So the time up to the healing phase should be comfortably overcome. The home remedies themselves hardly help to eliminate the pathogens. The accompanying symptoms, which are sometimes severe, can, however, be reduced to a minimum.

The means can be conventional foods or active ingredients. For example activated charcoal or healing earth. Most of the home remedies for gastrointestinal flu are used for severe diarrhea and nausea. Diarrhea can be treated very well with various means, for example pectins, healing earth, activated charcoal or swelling agents. Vomiting can also be tackled with home remedies. This can mainly be achieved by drinking large amounts of water or tea, which also have a calming effect on the gastric mucosa.

Other home remedies can help relieve stomach cramps, a high fever, or electrolyte loss.

Means for the prophylaxis of gastrointestinal flu in cold seasons can also be found in the house. The main home remedies for the various symptoms are described in more detail in the following sections.

Please also read: Anti-vomiting medication


Pectins are a form of sugar found in various types of fruit. There are many pectins in apples in particular, but also in bananas, citrus fruits, apricots or carrots.
The pectins are known as "absorbents". The idea is that the pectins absorb the toxins in the intestinal wall and thus help the body fight them.
Due to their presence in many foods, they are often used as home remedies for gastrointestinal flu.

Highly concentrated pectin preparations can be purchased in pharmacies.

Healing earth

As the name suggests, the healing earth is a type of sand.
Due to its fine grains, this forms a large surface on the intestinal wall and, like the pectins, is supposed to coat, absorb and thus eliminate toxins, bacteria and viruses.

Healing earth can be purchased on the Internet, in various supermarkets and also in pharmacies. Depending on the recommended dosage, this is then stirred into water and drunk. The exact effect of the healing earth is controversial among scientists.

Activated carbon

Activated charcoal is one of the most popular home remedies for treating gastrointestinal flu.
However, it is less of a typical home remedy than a commonly used naturopathic drug. The natural activated charcoal is mainly used medically for poisoning.

It consists of burnt substances that are pressed into tablet form and can be purchased at the pharmacy. After swallowing the tablet, the activated carbon spreads quickly on the intestinal wall and binds various toxins before they can be further absorbed into the body.

It is an extremely important drug in acute poisoning therapy. As a home remedy for gastrointestinal flu, it has only limited effects. The activated charcoal can develop its effect particularly with bacteria that in turn release toxins, for example certain types of E. coli intestinal bacteria.

Please also read the article: Bacteria in the gut

Gastrointestinal tea

Gastrointestinal tea is probably the most frequently used home remedy for flu-like infections and gastrointestinal inflammation.
It fulfills several symptom-relieving functions at the same time.

On the one hand, a few cups of tea a day can compensate for the lack of water that inevitably occurs with long-lasting diarrhea and vomiting.
When mixed with sugar, the tea can also provide lost energy and carbohydrates.
In addition, some types of tea have a soothing effect on the irritated gastrointestinal mucosa.

These include chamomile and fennel tea in particular. The warmth and ingredients of the herbs can soothe the irritated mucous membrane, reduce vomiting, and allow the appetite for solid foods to return and allow them to be digested.

In addition, the typical gastrointestinal tea has an anti-inflammatory effect. All of the inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract is reduced, which further reduces vomiting and diarrhea.

Cola and pretzel sticks

Cola and pretzel sticks are very popular, old home remedies for nausea and vomiting, which, however, can only be classified as useful to a limited extent.
Cola is said to help prevent fluid loss and, thanks to its high sugar content, provide the body with energy.
The pretzel sticks, on the other hand, are supposed to counteract the loss of the electrolyte balance and bring them into balance.

For mild complaints, these two home remedies are better than completely avoiding food. In the case of more severe complaints, however, one should by no means rely entirely on cola and pretzel sticks. The pretzel sticks provide a small amount of sodium, but no potassium, which is also needed and urgently needs to be supplied to the body in the event of severe diarrhea.
Cola gives the body fluid, but its acidity and caffeine content also irritate the gastric mucosa and can increase nausea. The use of these home remedies must therefore be made dependent on the extent of the complaints.


Apple can fight gastrointestinal flu in several ways. Apples can provide the body with important vitamins and energy during the symptomatic phase of the flu, provided that they are not vomited.
The apple also contains a high amount of pectins, which play an important role in gastrointestinal flu. They are considered to be absorbents and are supposed to bind the harmful viruses or toxins in the intestinal mucosa.

However, if the stomach lining is very irritated, a sour apple can also worsen the nausea.

Ginger root

Ginger is a popular home remedy for gastrointestinal complaints and nausea with vomiting.
The ginger has an antibacterial and antiviral but also a general anti-inflammatory effect.

Ginger can also reduce vomiting and nausea by reducing nausea. Many people, however, do not like pure ginger from the tuber, which is why ginger is also available in pharmacies in the form of tablets. However, both variants help equally.


Sage has anti-inflammatory effects on the mucous membranes of the digestive tract.
It mainly helps against the nausea and stomach pain associated with gastrointestinal flu. The calming effect of sage also helps against irritable stomach syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome.

Sage can be taken pure, in tea form or as a lozenge or tablet and can also be used in children.


Fennel in its pure form, as a lozenge or as a tea can also help against the symptoms of gastrointestinal flu.
In particular, severe inflammation symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract such as stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea can be relieved by fennel.


Chamomile in tea form is one of the most common remedies available in the household.
Like sage, ginger, fennel and nettle, chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-nausea effects.
Several cups of tea a day also help to renew the body's water balance and thus counteract other symptoms of gastrointestinal flu.

When should I not treat my gastrointestinal flu with home remedies?

In the case of gastrointestinal flu, one's own state of health must be assessed individually. Conventional gastrointestinal flu subsides on its own after 3-5 days.

Please also read the article: Duration of gastrointestinal flu

During this period, vomiting and diarrhea can occur, but the circulation should remain stable at all times. Even if it is difficult, small amounts of fluids and solid foods should be kept consistently during the flu. Otherwise a circulatory collapse can occur.
In the event of faintness, uncontrollable water loss or extreme pain, gastrointestinal flu must never be treated with home remedies on your own.

A doctor should be consulted if symptoms persist for more than 5 days. In these cases, your own common sense must be used in good time to determine that self-treatment is not sufficient.