Natural Health Remedies for You

Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning

This page looks at some effective natural remedies for food poisoning. It also looks at common food poisoning bacteria and the symptoms caused by such bacteria, such as e coli symptoms.

Food poisoning, also referred to as food-borne illness, occurs when you eat food contaminated with bacteria or other toxins. Your body reacts to the toxins that contaminate food.

The most common types of food poisoning result from food poisoning bacteria of salmonella, e coli, campylobacter, and staphylococcus.

Food can be contaminated at any point during its processing or production. At home, if food is not properly handled, cooked or stored, contamination can also occur. Illness is not inevitable after you eat contaminated food. The effects and severity of the poisoning depend on the contaminant, the degree of contamination, your age and your health.

While food poisoning is often caused by bacteria, it can also result from eating poisonous plants that contain toxic chemicals (e.g. some mushrooms), animals (e.g. pufferfish), or foods contaminated with chemicals (e.g. heavy metals like lead).

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Typical symptoms of food poisoning include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Head or muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Symptoms of food poisoning may start within hours after eating the contaminated food, or they may begin days later. The symptoms usually last from one to ten days.

Food poisoning caused by specific bacteria or toxins may show these symptoms:

Contaminant Foods Affected Symptoms
Staphylococcus Meats, prepared salads, cream sauces, cream-filled pastries Abdominal cramps, severe nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, headache and fever
Campylobacter Meat, poultry, unpasteurized milk, contaminated drinking water Abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever
Salmonella Eggs, undercooked poultry, unpasteurized milk Sudden onset of headache, fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
E Coli Undercooked beef, unpasteurized milk and apple cider, alfalfa sprouts, contaminated water Severe abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea followed by bloody diarrhea lasting 1-8 days
Botulism Home-canned foods, undercooked foods Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, muscle weakness, blurred vision, difficulty breathing and swallowing, respiratory failure, death
Clostridium perfringens Meat and poultry dishes, gravies, especially foods cooked more than 24 hours before eating and were not sufficiently reheated Abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea
(a parasite)
Contaminated water, raw, ready-to-eat produce Nausea, abdominal cramps and distention, watery diarrhea, flatulence and burping, low-grade fever, fatigue


Food Poisoning - When to See a Doctor

Seek medical assistance if you show any of the symptoms below, or if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system:
  • Frequent violent vomiting for more than two days
  • Vomiting blood
  • Inability to keep liquids down for 24 hours
  • Severe diarrhea that lasts for more than a day or contains blood
  • Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping
  • A fever higher than 102°F
  • Vision problems
  • Troubling breathing or talking
  • Dehydration


Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning

For severe cases of food poisoning, it is obviously important to seek immediate medical assistance to identify the type of contaminant so that appropriate medication (such as antibiotics for bacterial infections) can be prescribed.

However, natural remedies can be used effectively for mild cases of food poisoning. They can also be used in conjunction with conventional medication for more severe cases.

Natural remedies for food poisoning include the use of homeopathic and herbal remedies, as well as nutritional supplements to alleviate the various symptoms and to fight infections.

Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning - Herbs

Various herbs are effective in reducing symptoms caused by food poisoning:
  • Ginger: Ginger is an effective herb for nausea. It can also reduce intestinal inflammation. You can drink a cup of fresh ginger tea every few hours to settle your stomach.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint is another herb that reduces nausea and cramping. You can drink a cup of fresh peppermint tea every few hours.
  • Goldenseal: Goldenseal has powerful antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is especially helpful for inflammation of the mucous membranes (e.g. gastrointestinal). It can help to improve diarrhea caused by intestinal infections. You can take a tincture of the herb. Recommended dosage is 1 mg four times a day. Another herb with similar properties as goldenseal is Oregon grape.


Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning - Homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies are effective natural remedies for food poisoning. Choose a remedy that most closely matches your symptoms and follow the instructions on the label. Common homeopathic remedies for food poisoning include:
  • Arsenicum album: This is the most common remedy for food poisoning. It is indicated for people with symptoms such as diarrhea with burning sensation in the abdomen and around the anus, vomiting, chilliness, anxiety, and restlessness. Symptoms tend to worsen in the cold and improve with warmth. This remedy may also be used to prevent diarrhea when traveling.
  • China: This remedy is good for diarrhea and bloating and can be used after an acute bout of food poisoning to regain strength.
  • Ipecacuanha: This remedy is indicated for people with severe nauseousness and vomiting.
  • Mercurius corrosivus: This remedy is effective for food poisoning resulting in burning diarrhea with blood in the stools.
  • Nux vomica: This remedy is for food poisoning resulting in heartburn, cramping, and painful diarrhea that feels better temporarily from passing stool or from warm applications
  • Podophyllum: This remedy is for explosive, gushing, watery diarrhea with gas that becomes worse after eating or drinking. Stool may contain yellow mucus. Exhaustion often follows bowel movements, and there may be painful cramps in the lower extremities.


Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning - Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplements that can be used as a component of remedies for food poisoning include:
  • Probiotics: Probiotic supplements that contain "friendly bacteria" such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus can help to restore the balance of good bacteria in the intestine and fight intestinal infection. Take a supplement that contains at least 4 billion active organisms two to three a day.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is a traditional natural remedy for food poisoning due to its antimicrobial properties. You can simply mix 2 teaspoons of ACV in one cup warm water and drink several times a day.


Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning - Diet

When you are having a bout of food poisoning, the most important thing is to prevent dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids (such as water, diluted fruit and vegetable juices, electrolyte drinks, clear broths).

While recovering from food poisoning, eat simple foods that are easy to be absorbed. Suitable foods include cooked fruits and vegetables, soups, and brown rice.

Food to avoid:

  • Dairy products, fats, and oils
  • Sugar and foods that contain sugar
  • Caffeine and alcohol

Also See

Natural Diarrhea Cures


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004). (
University of Maryland Medical Center (

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