My grandma, like many others, has pushed and preached numerous home remedies for various ailments, for as long as I can remember. Some of them seem like pure common sense, while others sound completely ludicrous. I asked her specifically about home remedies for an upset stomach, and was shocked by how many tried-and-true she came up with. Even more shocking to me, was that more of them than not, were backed up by legitimate health care resources like Mayo Clinic.
Though each remedy I will give is for treatment of an upset tummy, the remedy to use is dependent on the cause of the stomach ache. If not taken for the correct type of belly ache, some remedies can make things worse.
If your stomach is hurting because of a bowel back-up, try coffee. Coffee is a natural stimulant that is most effective. If you don’t have any coffee in the house, try fresh, fiber-rich fruits like apples, pears, or berries. Dried fruits like figs, raisins, or prunes will get the job done too. Do not drink coffee for upset stomach due to anything other than constipation.
If you are suffering stomach troubles in connection with heart burn (from over-eating, or too much acid), baking soda is a cheap cure. Mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda to 4 ounces of water, this may be repeated every two hours.
My grandma recommends honey too, “because it says to in the bible”, according to her. It actually does work because its’ sugars ‘cancel out’ stomach acids. Most resources I found suggest mixing powdered cinnamon with the honey for best results. Though I couldn’t find any studies to back this suggestion up, I did find that cinnamon has been used as medicine for just about as long as history has been written.
If gas is trapped high (nearer your esophagus), try anything with carbonation. Drink some soda pop or sparkling water, and then lie on your left side for a few minutes to produce a good burp and get the gas out. When my mom was an inconsolable colicky infant, my grandma would give her fountain soda, and it worked every time (This is just a personal note, not a suggestion).
General nausea/stomach flu
Peppermint candy or tea with peppermint works wonders. Peppermint has a calming, almost numbing effect on the stomach muscles; it keeps them from being overactive.
Water is utterly important when dealing with upset stomach. It helps in many ways, the most important being avoidance of dehydration due to accompanying diarrhea. Water should be consumed slowly and steadily, and at room temperature. Consuming liquids that are too hot, or too cold, can shock the stomach causing more discomfort. Additionally, they cause your body to have to work harder to digest, and your body probably needs all the rest it can get.
If your abdominal muscles are sore, from excessive vomiting or diarrhea, use heat to soothe. A heating pad, a warm damp towel, or a 2-liter soda bottle filled with hot tap water (not too hot) can be placed across your belly for quick and lasting relief.
All of these home remedies are straight from my grandma. I am willing to bet that any one of her six kids or eleven grandkids, me included, would be happy to vouch for the effectiveness of any of these homemade cures for stomach upset.
“The Magic of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda” Arm & Hammer
“Indigestion: Alternative Medicine” Mayo Clinic
“Peppermint” University of Maryland Medical Center
Mary Shomon, “Highest Fiber Vegetables, Fruits and Foods” About