Monday, 25 April 2016

Treating Norovirus Naturally

Norovirus, gatroenteritis, stomach bug/flu, whatever you call it, it's grim.  Wondered where I disappeared to last week?  Yep, that was it.  Pretty much wiped out from Wednesday night till Saturday afternoon.  Yuck.  My constant companion, Misha bear and I will spare you the gory details, but after some extensive research we thought we'd share with you some natural treatments that work to alleviate symptoms, or at least make you feel a bit better.

Stay Away from the Doctor

The first thing to say is that any sickness bug is caused by a virus and thus cannot be treated with antibiotics, nor can your doctor do anything about it for you, so please don't waste their time or risk infecting a waiting room-full of people to be told that!  You should only consult a doctor if symptoms persist for more than 3-4 days (1-2 days in babies and young children); if there is blood in the urine, vomit or stool; if stomach pain increases after the first 24 hours or so; or if there are signs of dehydration, especially in young children and babies.

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines.  Standard symptoms are likely to include suddenly feeling sick, projectile vomiting, watery diarrhoea and stomach cramps, and may be accompanied by a fever, headache, joint pains and aching limbs.  Many people report a sort of fizzy feeling in the stomach too.  These are all perfectly normal for this type of illness and just need to take their course.  The NHS recommends taking paracetamol for headaches and aches and pains, but the wisdom of doing this on an empty stomach is questionable.

The best thing you can do to get better is to let nature take its course, no suppressants, no over the counter meds, just lots of rest and keep your fluids up, but sip slowly and don't have water that is too cold as it can shock the stomach and make you throw up again.  A tea made from sliced ginger in boiling water can help quell feelings of nausea.

Prevent the Spread

When suffering from norovirus you probably won't care much for anyone else, but the best thing you can do is to prevent it spreading to others.  Stay away from work/school/nursery for 48 hours (72 if your role comes into contact with the ill or elderly), wash your hands scrupulously and clean toilets and other receptacles regularly with disinfectant.

Change bed linen and do not share towels with other family members.  Wash bed linen, towels and the patient's clothing as soon as possible on a high temperature.  If possible, do not prepare food and drink for any one else until your symptoms are long passed.  Burn a few drops of lemon, tea tree, pine or rosemary essential oil to purify the air.


Homeopathy can help both with alleviating the symptoms and helping you recover more quickly.  It is best to match the symptoms to the remedy, and at least two doses will be required before knowing if it suits the patient and their illness.  However, the great thing with homeopathy is that there are no contra-indications, and more than one remedy can be tried successively without ill effect.  Homeopathy works well on children and babies and is safe to use.

Try Arsenicum album 30C if there is thirst for small sips of water; burning pain after passing stools; or if aggravated by the sight, smell or even the thought of food.

Ipecac 30C helps if there is constant nausea and frequent vomiting, but the vomiting gives no relief from the nausea.  Symptoms may be worse at night; worse for any movement at all, even the head; and you may feel sleepy after vomiting.  This remedy also helps if there are hot or cold sweats, flatulence or colicky feelings.  The stomach may also feel as if it is being gripped and squeezed during cramps.

If vomiting after drinking water, despite great thirst, or there is painless watery diarrhoea with few other symptoms, try Phosphorus 30C.

Podophylum 30C may also be prescribed for painless diarrhoea, often worse in morning, accompanied by feelings of weakness and a thirst for lots of water.

If there is copious vomiting and watery diarrhoea, worse for the least motion, weakness, nausea, violent thirst and profuse salivation, try Veratrum album 30C.  There may also be a cold feeling in the stomach, and the patient may feel as if suffocating and be red in the face.  Severe pains in the stomach and cold sweats will also feature.


Once your appetite returns, stick to bland foods for at least a day.  Toast, dry biscuits like Rich Tea or dry crackers can all help as first foods.  To aid healing in your stomach and intestine, up your intake of pre- and probiotic-rich foods for a week or two after the illness.

These include asparagus, leeks, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, miso soup, sour cream, avocadoes, sourdough bread, beans & lentils, potato skins, greens (e.g. spinach, chard, kale), apple cider vinegar, bananas, berries, oatmeal, live yogurt, and fermented foods like sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi and kefir.  By upping your intake of these foods you will repopulate your gut fast and ensure it is working optimally, as well as boosting your resistance to further illness.

Typical daily menu:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with live yogurt and berries

Snack: Banana, pot of yogurt, glass of kefir or slice of sourdough toast

Lunch: Baked potato with sour cream and sauerkraut with a salad of spinach, avocado and spring onions (scallions) OR Home-made baked beans on sourdough toast with a spinach and griddled asparagus salad

Dinner: miso soup followed by a stir fry of asparagus, leeks, garlic and kale OR a puy lentil and Jerusalem artichoke bake with fresh avocado and stir-fried chard with garlic

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