Ayurvedic Treatment for Diarrhea

Atisaar (Ayurvedic terminology), Diarrhea, Loose motion, Watery stool

Diarrhea is increased frequency of bowel movements with loose or watery stools, often accompanied by stomach pain. Usually, it is a symptom of other disorders but it can also be the body’s attempt to dispel toxins or other substances from the intestines. Many times ‘Ama’ (undigested food articles) is expelled with faces. The condition is acute mostly but it can be chronic also. When diarrhea lasts for few days; Fasting, Fluids, Basic Ayurvedic Care and Home remedies are sufficient treatment. The main concern for long term diarrhea, other than underlying disease is dehydration and loss of electrolytes and nutrients.

Causes of diarrhea:

  • Intake of heavy to digest, too oily, too dry, too hot, too cold, excessive liquid or too solid food articles
  • Contradictory food articles
  • Eating even after indigestion
  • Improper purification of body by Panchkarma procedures
  • Consuming toxic and stale food
  • Drinking polluted water
  • Drinking too much cold water repeatedly
  • Eating too many unripe fruits and vegetables
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Too much swimming
  • Withholding of natural urges
  • Eating food rapidly without proper chewing
  • Eating food before the prior food is properly digested
  • Poor digestion
  • Wrong eating habits
  • While the person is afflicted with psychological conditions like fear, grief, stress etc. and
  • Other diseases like sprue, piles, worm infestation and indigestion can lead to diarrhea.

Various types of diarrhea have been described as per classical Ayurvedic texts like-

  • Vataja Atisaar (Diarrhea due to vitiation of Vata dosha),
  • Pittaja Atisaar(Diarrhea due to vitiation of Pitta dosha),
  • Kaphaja Atisaar(Diarrhea due to vitiation of Kapha dosha),
  • Sannipataja Atisaar(Diarrhea due to vitiation of above tri-dosha),
  • Raktaja Atisaar(Diarrhea due to vitiation of Blood),
  • Aamaja Atisaar(Diarrhea due to vitiation of Ama (un metabolised food articles/toxins))
  • Shokaja/Bhayaja Atisaar(Diarrhea due to Psychological  factors like stress, fear, grief etc.)

The general symptoms of diarrhea are passing liquid stools 5-10 times per day, abdominal pain, thirst, weakness, dryness of mouth and gas in the abdomen.

The specific symptoms of each type of diarrhea are as per below.
1) Vataja Atisaar: In this type pain during defecation, abdominal cramps, lots of gas in abdomen, during bowel movements lots of water is passed with little faecal matter, the faecal matter is very foul with froth and liquid, back pain, dryness of mouth and slight breathlessness is present.
2) Pittaja Atisaar: In this type stools are yellowish, greenish or blackish in colour with lot of bad smell and can be tinged with blood. There may or may not be fever, thirst, and burning sensation in the abdomen are present with perspiration.
3) Kaphaja Atisaar: In this type small amount of faecal matter is passed, which is slightly oily, whitish in colour is passed frequently. There is slight straining during the time of passing stools. Mild pain in the region of back, abdomen and at the rectum is always present.
4) Sannipataja Atisaar: In this type mixed symptoms of all the above types are seen.
5) Raktaja Atisaar: If person having Pittaja type of diarrhea indulges pitta vitiating diet, blood gets aggravated and this type of diarrhea is produced. In this type, there is blood in stools, fever, burning sensation, pain in anal region and perspiration are present.
6) Aamaja Atisaar: In this type there are toxins in gastro intestinal tract. Hence stools are sticky, foul smelling and with various colours. They are oily, heavy and hence sink in the water. Many times undigested food matter is expelled as it is and usually fever is present.
7) Shokaja/Bhayaja Atisaar: In this type, the person who is already very weak, if gets afflicted with fear, stress, and anger etc. tri-doshas get vitiated and produce this type of diarrhea. In this type the faeces are with blood and there is fever, burning, vertigo, perspiration and giddiness also present.

Complications of diarrhea are oedema, severe pain in abdomen, high fever, thirst, dyspnoea, cough, anorexia, vomiting, fainting, hiccup and fleeting joint pains.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Diarrhea:
Basic Ayurvedic Care | Home remedies for Diarrhea:

  • Patient has to do fast for initial 24-48 hrs (initial 1-2 days).
  • He should have to consume maximum boiled water mixed with dry ginger powder, which will help to improve the digestive power as well reduced the inflammation of intestinal wall. It also restores the fluid loss and saves the patient from dehydration.
  • Do rest and have proper sleep.
  • Particularly in ‘Aamaja type of Atisaar’ (Diarrhea due to vitiation of Ama (un metabolised food articles/toxins)), patient has to take ‘Haritaki Churna’ (Fruit of Terminalia Chebula) 3-5 gms. for 2-3 times a day for very first day, so the toxins from the gastro-intestinal tract has been expelled out then he should follow the above basic care.
  • Patient has to take fresh buttermilk mixed with cumin seeds powder.
  • Patient can also consume hot tea (of Tulsi (holy basil) and Ginger flavoured).
  • Patient can take fruits like pomegranate and dry black grapes which gives natural nutrients to the body in this particular condition.
  • After doing initial fast, when patient feels hungry, he should start to take food like moong beans soup and rice mixed with ‘Trikatu Churna’ (Powder mixture of Dry ginger, Black pepper and Piper longum) and then gradually go on normal food.
  • Patient has to avoid all the ‘Kapha’ and ‘Ama’ increasing foods like cheese, fried, oily foods, foods which are heavy to digest like meat and sweets.

Some of the famous Ayurvedic formulations for diarrhea:
Vati (Tablets):
Tab. Sanjivani Vati, Tab. Shatyadi Vati, Tab. Kalingaadi Vati, Tab. Sunthi Haritaki Vati,  Tab. Diarex (Himalaya Pharma)
Churna (Powders):
Laghu gangadhar Churna, Panchkol Churna, Trikatu Churna, Hingwadi Churna, Haritaki Churna
Medicated Wines:
Sy. Mustarishta, Sy. Panchkolasava, Sy. Takrarishta, Sy. Kutajarishta, Sy. Ahiphenasava

Panchkarma Treatment:
‘Pichhchha Basti’ (Enema made by specific Ayurvedic herbs) can be beneficial in long term cases of diarrhea.