Here's the top 14 home remedies for upset stomach in order of importance. Use each of these natural remedies for stomach ache and enjoy some fast and effective relief without the unwanted side effects you get from over-the-counter medications...
Article by Troy Sawyer (Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Health & Wellness Coach, Sports Nutritionist)
Updated April 18, 2023 -- This post contains affiliate links
An upset stomach or severe stomach pain can easily leave you curled up on the floor grimacing in pain or stuck in the bathroom for what seems like an eternity. I think everyone has gone through this awful scenario at least once in their life. And it’s usually the kids who get hit the hardest. So there goes your night’s sleep when this happens!
An upset stomach can be caused by a number of things. The main culprit is usually food poisoning or harmful bacteria that has entered the gut from something you ate or drank. Other causes include gas, overeating or drinking, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, allergic reaction, infection, stress, lactose intolerance, and the frequent use of medications. Other more serious causes of an upset stomach can be stomach ulcers, gall bladder stones, hernia, a urinary tract infection, and appendicitis. Thankfully, there are some excellent natural and home remedies for an upset stomach that will help to alleviate the pain and discomfort very quickly, no matter what the cause. As always though, we recommend you visit a health care professional if your symptoms persist for more than 3 days.
So here are our top 14 natural remedies for an upset stomach in order of importance. Be sure to use at least three or more at once for best results…
Taking some liquid iodine is the absolute fastest way to get rid of an upset stomach and alleviate the pain and discomfort. In fact, nothing works better! Yet what is unbelievable is you’ll be hard pressed to find this treatment listed in other articles on natural remedies for upset stomach.
We don’t understand why?
Anyway, it doesn’t matter. You’ve found it now and that’s all that counts. The great thing about liquid iodine is it starts to work within 30 minutes of taking it and its safe for everyone, even children (not recommended for babies though). You can also mix some in a small glass of water and not even taste the iodine, so the kids won’t kick and scream when it’s time for them to have it.
The reason liquid iodine is the best remedy for an upset stomach and stomach ache is it contains powerful anti-parasitic and alkalizing agents. It quickly destroys vicious stomach bacteria, including dangerous salmonella, and recharges the body at the cellular level. As we’ve already said, food poisoning and harmful bacteria are the main causes of an upset stomach. Liquid iodine will also help if your stomach ache is caused by one or more of the other reasons listed too. So regardless of the cause, liquid iodine should definitely be your #1 choice!
Personally, we always have a couple of bottles of liquid iodine sitting in the fridge, just in case, and we always take a bottle or two with us whenever we go on holidays. There’s nothing worse than you or one of the kids copping a stomach bug or a really bad upset stomach when you’re supposed to be on holidays!
As far as finding the best brands of liquid iodine, Lugol’s Iodine Solution is considered to be the best on the market so try and go with this if you can get it. You can read more about it from this link (make sure you read the customer reviews for specific dosages)… Amazon.com.
Liquid iodine does come in different potencies, so you'll need to adjust the amount according the strength that you buy. For the 2% solution, add 6 vertical drops to a glass of filtered water and drink down. Do this 3 times a day on an empty stomach - before bedtime is particularly important. For more severe forms of an upset stomach or for food poisoning, you can increase the amount to 12 vertical drops per serve. Continue with this protocol for 3-5 days.
NOTE: When it comes to dosages for children, the amount is always halved for kids over the age of five. For smaller children (3-5), it’s halved once again. And even though liquid iodine is very safe, it’s best used for 3-5 days straight for kids as well as adults, then just taken when required after that (your child's stomach will be fine after 3-5 days anyway). Teenagers can consume the same amount as adults - just keep it on the lower end of the dosage scale for them.
Ginger is one of the most popular natural remedies for an upset stomach - and it works exceptionally well. This herb helps to relax the intestinal tract to quickly soothe stomach pain and contains some strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Ginger also helps to relieve indigestion and diarrhea without any of the harmful side effects associated with antacids and popular diarrhea medications such as Imodium.
Fresh ginger should only ever be used for best results. Chop up 4-6 slices of raw ginger and add to a cup of boiling water with a few slices of lemon (lemon is also an excellent remedy for stomach ache). Leave to steep for 15-20 minutes then either strain or just remove the ginger slices with a spoon. Add some manuka honey for taste and slowly sip. You can also chew on a fresh piece of ginger if you like the taste or chop up some small pieces and take these with a glass of lemon water for extra benefit.
Another sure-fire remedy for settling a stomach ache is definitely organic apple cider vinegar. In fact, this is one of the standard remedies most natural therapists recommend. ACV contains pectin, a powerful substance that quickly soothes an upset stomach, along with relieving nausea and improving digestion. Apple cider vinegar also helps to replenish the supply of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, which is crucial for the successful treatment and further prevention of stomach upsets (see #9 remedy).
Make sure the ACV you buy is organic and still contains the crucial “mother” apple (such as these). Mix 1-2 tablespoons in a glass of warm water (you can add some honey for taste) and drink three times daily, preferably 10-15 minutes before a meal. If you find you don’t like the taste of the liquid apple cider vinegar, substitute this for the easy-to-swallow capsules instead.
Chamomile and peppermint are excellent for soothing the muscle lining of the digestive tract. They both contain potent anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties and are known to quickly calm and settle an upset stomach.
You can easily buy chamomile tea or peppermint tea from most supermarkets or online. Mix both together or drink individually with a couple of slices of fresh lemon 3-4 times daily for some welcome relief. When it comes to giving peppermint to children for an upset tummy, the easiest way is with some peppermint candy (not many kids will willingly drink peppermint tea). However, peppermint candy is usually loaded with sugar so make sure you go with a sugar free brand.
You may have heard that eating burnt toast is good for settling an upset stomach. Well this is very true, however, burnt toast contains harmful carcinogens so we recommend you don’t do this. Instead, get yourself (or the kids) some activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is extremely safe, and best of all, it will literally calm an upset stomach in minutes!
If your upset stomach is caused by something you ate or drank (food poisoning, contaminated water, etc) activated charcoal will go to work and hunt down and absorb the bad bacteria and microbes that are causing your stomach problem. These nasty little critters are then safely excreted through the bowel (take that you rotten little buggers!) Activated charcoal is also excellent for quickly relieving the nauseousness and the horrible build-up of intestinal gas that you usually get with an upset stomach. And if you happen to be suffering with diarrhea as well the activated charcoal will help to "harden you up".
You can easily buy activated charcoal online or from most pharmacies and health food stores. For adults, take 520-975 mg’s after each meal (but don’t exceed 5 grams per day). Children should be given smaller doses (follow the directions on the bottle) and because activated charcoal can interfere with nutrient absorption, only take it for 3 days then use when required after that.
Activated charcoal is definitely another (cheap) supplement that you should always keep in your pantry for emergencies. And if you’re planning to travel to a third world country, we recommend you don’t leave home without it!
A heat pack or hot water bottle works a treat when your stomach is sore and cramping up. The heat helps to relax and loosen the muscles and increase blood flow. This remedy is especially great for children because they’re quite happy to use it. Simply warm up a heat pack or fill a hot water bottle and place it on the abdomen while lying down. It should be very warm but still comfortable. Leave on for 20 minutes then reheat and apply once again for another 20 minutes. Continue to use when needed.
Cumin has been used for centuries as a stomach ache remedy and for indigestion. A substance in cumin called thymol increases enzyme secretion, which in turn helps with digestion and assimilation of food and nutrients in the gut. The best way to get your cumin is to use it in your cooking, but for quick relief from a stomach ache or indigestion mix ¼ of a teaspoon of cumin seed powder with ½ a teaspoon of manuka honey and take this three times a day. You can also take the black cumin seed oil in either liquid or capsule form for extra benefit and relief.
Licorice and fennel can be found in many of the herbal supplements on the market that are designed to help with soothing and alleviating upset stomachs. They are both excellent for relieving gas and bloating and contain some potent anti-microbial and anti-spasmodic properties. You can also find these as herbal teas, or in the case of fennel, you can buy the seeds and chew on them throughout the day for added relief.
If you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria residing in your gut then you will definitely find yourself getting regular stomach upsets, stomach aches and diarrhea. Probiotics help to stop the bad (and the very bad) bacteria from growing and thriving in your digestive system, which of course includes your stomach and colon. So these “good guys” basically give you a cast iron gut, so to speak. And if you’re suffering from an upset stomach right now, you can benefit tremendously by eating some live cultured natural yogurt, making up your own probiotic drink (kefir, kombucha, etc), and of course by taking a high quality probiotic supplement (the most important).
For some simple and effective ways to make your own probiotic rich food and drinks at home to keep your gut super healthy (and make stomach upsets a thing of the past) we recommend you check out this terrific "how to" website… CulturesForHealth.
If you’re stomach ache is caused by a build-up of gas then a little baking soda can easily fix this. Baking soda neutralizes stomach acid (the same as antacids do) to quickly relieve bloating and indigestion. It also raises your body’s pH level, which helps you to start feeling better more quickly. Just mix a teaspoon in a glass of warm water and drink. It doesn’t taste that great, but it certainly does the trick.
You don’t need to eat both of these together to treat an upset stomach, however, they do go very nicely together (if you like cinnamon on your bananas then go for it!) Bananas are easily digested and help to absorb excess acid and gas in the belly (which causes stomach aches). They’re also rich in pectin and potassium, which help to harden your stools and replace the electrolytes lost if you have diarrhea.
Cinnamon contains some powerful calmative properties and is wonderful for settling down an upset stomach. It also helps to stimulate the digestive system so the gut can get working normally again. Eat a banana and consume a teaspoon of cinnamon (natural cinnamon not cinnamon sugar) three times daily for best results.
Pepto-Bismol contains the essential trace mineral bismuth. It’s a very effective and powerful remedy for upset stomach, diarrhea, indigestion, GERD and heartburn. Pepto-Bismol is especially effective for treating a stomach ache caused by the helicobacter pylori bacteria. Nobel Prize nominee, Dr. Joel Wallach, spoke about bismuth’s ability to kill this bacteria (when combined with the tetracycline antibiotic) for stomach ulcers on his hugely successful “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie” cassette tape back in the early nineties.
So it’s definitely worthwhile taking some Pepto-Bismol to calm an upset stomach and also keeping some handy in case of an emergency. It can also be safely taken by children as long as you follow the directions listed on the bottle or packet.
Rice water or rice tea is another terrific remedy for an upset stomach. It makes a soothing barrier over the lining of the stomach and quickly relieves gut inflammation. Rice water is also beneficial if you’re suffering with diarrhea as well. Simply boil up (slowly simmer) ½ cup of white rice in 2 cups of water. Once the rice becomes soft, remove the pot from the stove and leave to sit for 15 minutes with the lid on. Strain the rice and drink the water (juice). You can also keep the rice to eat later if you begin to feel hungry (rice is an excellent light food to eat for an upset stomach).
This last remedy for an upset stomach is a no brainer really. Sitting down and eating some hot, spicy Mexican food when your tummy is doing back flips is probably not a good idea, nor is it a good idea to eat saturated fatty foods such as fried foods and takeaway foods. These are all difficult for the stomach to digest and can irritate the lining of the gut, making your stomach problems much worse. Instead, go with high-binding foods such as bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast (BRAT diet). Pasta, yogurt, oatmeal and healthy wholemeal crackers are also safe to eat. The trick is to start off eating small amounts, then if your stomach feels okay and settled, slowly increase your portion sizes.
So hopefully these tips and remedies help you out. Good luck and all the best to you!
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