Stomach flu – it is a health problem with a very misleading name!

Contrary to what some people think, it actually is not a type of flu [1].

It is scientifically known as viral gastroenteritis. And the condition is characterized by inflammation of the parts of the gastrointestinal tract such as the intestines and stomach.

In this article you’ll learn some easy and effective home remedies for stomach flu.

Stomach flu causes many unpleasant symptoms and its effects are really alarming!

So you should not wait for the condition to worsen. In fact, you should do something about it right away.

Consider these simple home remedies that have been proven safe and effective in combating stomach flu and its symptoms.

RELATED: 14 Home Remedies for Loose Motion That Actually Work

Viral Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu): A Quick Guide

Viral gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, is an intestinal infection that leads to watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever [2].

When you have diarrhea and vomiting, there’s a high chance that you have the stomach flu! Stomach flu makes your stomach and intestine irritated and inflamed.

However, although known as stomach flu, it shouldn’t be confused for influenza as influenza mainly affects the respiratory system such as your nose, throat, and lungs [2].


Irritated and inflamed stomach and intestines cause signs and symptoms such as:

The symptoms may appear within one to four days and range from mild to severe symptoms. In a severe case of stomach flu, the symptoms may persist as long as a week to ten days [2].

Cause of Stomach Flu

Viral gastroenteritis spreads through contaminated food or water, i.e., sewage contaminated food or water, or if your share towels, food with someone who’s infected [3].

The types of viruses that lead to gastroenteritis include:

  • Noroviruses: This virus affects both children and adults and mainly spreads through contaminated food or water or among people in confined space.
  • Rotavirus: The infection caused by this virus is more severe in the case of infants and young children. Adults infected by this virus may not show any symptoms but are more likely to spread the disease.

Apart from viruses, raw or undercooked shellfish and oysters can make you sick.

Another way by which this disease spreads is through a fecal-oral route that is when infected people serve food or touches food without washing his/her hand properly after using the toilet [4].

Viral gastroenteritis is often deadly as there’s no effective treatment. In fact, prevention is the key!

15 Easy Home Remedies for Stomach Flu

In case of stomach flu, there’s no exact treatment or cure so home remedies can be used as an alternative to providing relief from the symptoms.

Below are some effective home remedies that provide great relief from stomach flu naturally:

1. GingerGinger

One of the easiest ways to treat stomach flu is with ginger.

After all, it’s the “most appreciated herb” when it comes to resolving gastrointestinal problems [5].

Ginger works by combating pathogens that cause gastroenteritis [6].

Results from Indian research reveal that ginger disrupts the metabolism of the bacteria and host cells [6].

At the same time, it alleviates symptoms of pain, vomiting and loose bowel with its analgesic, antiemetic and anti-diarrheal actions [6, 7, 8].

It doesn’t only relieve the symptoms of stomach flu; it also helps control the source of infection to shorten its duration and promote quick recovery.

What You’ll Need:

  • One teaspoon of ginger, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil ginger in water.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Let it steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Drink tea several times a day for up to one week.

RELATED: 10 Health Benefits of Ginger Oil That You Should Know About

2. Yogurt

Frozen yogurt is often recommended as a healthy alternative to ice cream for people trying to beat their sugar addiction.

Apart from being a tasty treat, yogurt has a plethora of benefits for the health.

It can help put an end to many ailments particularly those related to the digestive system such as viral gastroenteritis.

Various studies confirm that the probiotics in yogurt can reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea associated with rotavirus infection [9, 10, 11, 12].

In 2010, a team of Bolivian scientists performed clinical trials on children admitted to the hospital due to acute rotavirus diarrhea [11].

The children ages one to 23 months received oral rehydration therapy and oral rehydration solution with probiotics [11].

A conclusion was reached that those who received probiotic treatment along with oral rehydration therapy had a much shorter duration of diarrhea [11].

Probiotic agents such as Lactobacillus GG, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Saccharomyces boulardii are particularly effective in combating diarrhea especially in children [12].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of yogurt
  • One banana, sliced
  • One apple, sliced
  • One tablespoon of honey
  • 1 cup of ice

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until consistency is smooth.
  3. Drink twice a day for one to two weeks.

3. Peppermint

Apparently, there’s more to peppermint than simply being a breath freshener.

It has a multitude of pharmacological effects that people can take advantage of.

These include antiseptic, antibacterial, antispasmodic and carminative effects, among many others [13].

Those complaining of stomach flu can get relief from symptoms using this potent herb.

The essential oil of peppermint has been found to effectively reduce nausea and vomiting with its antiemetic properties, reports a 2013 study [14].

Patients who used peppermint had fewer incidences of vomiting [14].

Moreover, peppermint’s active compound menthol is a “natural analgesic” that can soothe the pain and discomfort in the abdominal area [15].

What You’ll Need:

  • One teaspoon of peppermint leaves
  • 1 cup of boiled water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Steep peppermint leaves in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Let it cool.
  3. Strain the leaves.
  4. Drink the tea five times a day for three days.

RELATED: 12 Uses and Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil

4. Chamomile

Chamomile is often relied upon as a “digestive aid” to ameliorate gastrointestinal ailments including bloating, indigestion, nausea and vomiting [16].

In cases of stomach flu, this herb is used to relieve abdominal cramping and reduce diarrhea [17].

Its anti-diarrheal mode of action has been proven in several studies [18, 19, 20].

In one of these studies, it was shown that treatment with chamomile fluid extract for three days significantly decreased diarrhea in children [20].

A parallel trial involving 255 children with acute diarrhea stated that the combination of apple pectin and chamomile worked more effectively than the placebo in decreasing the frequency of bowel movements [20].

It was also noted that the treatment was well-tolerated by the patients, and did not have any adverse effects [20].

What You’ll Need:

  • Two teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 cup of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Steep chamomile flowers in hot water for 15 minutes.
  2. Strain the tea
  3. Drink tea four times a day for three days.

RELATED: 12 Uses and Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil

5. BananaBanana

Banana works well for most types of diarrhea, even those that are caused by rotavirus infection.

This fruit, which is one of the oldest cultivated in the world, is traditionally used for treating both diarrhea and constipation [21].

Evidence from several studies suggests that it is a viable way of managing persistent diarrhea [22, 23, 24].

A study conducted in Bangladesh shows that children infected with rotavirus recovered more quickly when treated with banana or pectin [23].

Researchers noted a significant reduction in the amount of stool and the frequency of vomiting [23].

In a different study, 57 boys suffering from chronic diarrhea was given a weeklong treatment consisting of rice, rice and banana, and rice and pectin [24].

Findings reveal that bananas help improve permeability in the small intestine and prevent fluid loss [24].

Those who received rice and banana diet recovered more easily than those from the other groups [24].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 to 2 ripe bananas
  • One bowl of cooked rice

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mash banana.
  2. Combine with rice.
  3. Eat mashed banana and rice twice a day until condition improves.

6. Oral Rehydration Solution

Dehydration is one of the most dangerous effects of diarrhea [25].

To avoid this, oral rehydration therapy is often recommended for patients with gastroenteritis and diarrhea [26, 27, 28].

The use of oral rehydration solution contributed to a great decline in diarrhea-related mortality [28].

From the recorded five million deaths in 1982, the figure was down to three million after a 10-year period [28].

This treatment method comes in two stages: the rehydration phase to replace lost fluids and the maintenance phase to supply the body with necessary fluids and electrolytes [28].

Anyone who suffers from diarrhea should make use of this natural remedy to prevent dehydration.

What You’ll Need:

  • Six tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 liter of boiled and cooled water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add sugar and salt to water.
  2. Drink three to five cups a day.

7. Cranberry JuiceCranberry-Juice

For decades, cranberry juice has been the go-to solution for urinary tract infection (UTI), a bacterial infection that commonly affects women [29].

Did you know that this delicious juice can also work wonders for those with stomach flu?

A study that can be found in the Phytomedicine Journal states that cranberry juice has inhibitory effects on rotavirus, inactivating it and preventing it from replicating [30].

These results were derived after exposing the virus to cranberry and grapefruit juices [30].

Cranberry may not have the necessary properties to relieve the symptoms of stomach flu, but it certainly gets the job done by killing the source of infection.

What You’ll Need:

  • Cranberry juice

Recommended Directions:

  1. Drink two to three glasses of cranberry juice a day until symptoms subside.

RELATED: 12 Cranberry Juice Benefits (Backed by Scientific Evidence)

8. Guava Leaves

Typically found in tropical countries, guava is a medicinal crop known for its numerous clinical purposes [31].

Most of its biological activities are attributable to its phenols, flavonoids, and terpenoid [31].

It’s not just the fruit itself that’s beneficial to one’s health but also the other parts of the guava tree, such as the leaves.

In a review conducted by Brazilian scientists, guava leaves were included among the herbal remedies that have anti-rotavirus mechanisms [32].

The active compounds in guava leaves prevent rotaviruses from inflicting severe damage in the small intestine [32].

Guava can also provide relief from abdominal pain caused by acute diarrhea, according to a 2002 study [33].

This remedy has been found to exhibit analgesic and antispasmodic properties after it was given to 50 patients with diarrhea every eight hours for three days [33].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of guava leaves
  • 4 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil guava leaves in water.
  2. Drink one cup of the concoction once a day.
  3. Chill the remaining in the refrigerator to use the next day.

9. Black TeaBlack-Tea

Drinking tea is a social activity in some countries, during a part of cultural ceremonies and traditions in others.

Apart from being a cultural norm, and a way of socializing, tea also has beneficial effects on the body that one should take advantage of.

Tea leaves contain active compounds that can prevent viruses, bacteria, and fungi from harming the health [34].

A study published in the Japanese Journal of Medical Science and Biology reports that tea extract fights rotaviruses by weakening their activity and interfering adsorption [35].

Contributing to this mode of action is a chemical called theaflavin digallate, which has been found to have strong virucidal effects [35].

What You’ll Need:

  • One teaspoon of black tea leaves
  • 1 cup of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Let black tea leaves steep in hot water.
  2. Strain the leaves.
  3. Drink the tea twice a day for one week to get rid of stomach flu fast.

RELATED: 26 Surprising Health Benefits of Black Tea

10. Cinnamon

Ayurvedic healers have long used cinnamon as a stimulant, anti-emetic and anti-diarrheal remedy [39].

How does it work?

Cinnamon contains active constituents such as cinnamaldehyde, which according to Chinese research, can inhibit the growth of various bacterial strains, including those that cause diarrhea such as E. coli [40].

Apart from killing bacteria, it also inhibits the activities of other harmful pathogens such as fungi and dermatophytes [40].

On top of all these, drinking warm cinnamon can also help alleviate chills and aches caused by diarrhea, and bring you the comfort that you’re looking for.

What You’ll Need:

  • One teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • One tablespoon of honey
  • 2 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add cinnamon powder.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove pot from the stove.
  5. Strain mixture with a cheesecloth.
  6. Stir in honey.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Drink while still warm.
  9. Take this solution three to four times a day for two to three days to get rid of stomach flu quickly.

RELATED: The Benefits of Honey and Cinnamon for Weight Loss

11. Garlic

Scientists have long acknowledged garlic as a strong antimicrobial.

In fact, it is recommended for treating various types of bacterial infections.

If you’d like to get rid of your stomach flu, you can also use this simple but effective natural treatment method.

A Nigerian study validates the antibacterial powers of garlic, stating that it can efficiently suppress the growth and spread of E. coli and other pathogens that cause diarrhea [41].

Allicin, which gives garlic its pungent smell, is what’s also responsible for its antimicrobial actions [41].

This chemical is obtained by crushing or cutting cloves of garlic [41].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • One teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  1. Peel garlic cloves and crush each one.
  2. Chop into fine pieces.
  3. Mix in honey.
  4. Eat the mixture right away.
  5. Consume this three times a day for two days.

12. KefirKefir

Kefir is a fermented product that contains essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates [36].

Apart from being a good source of nutrients, it can also help treat various health problems including bacterial infection, digestive ailments and high cholesterol [36].

Consumption of kefir can also be useful for those suffering from viral gastroenteritis.

According to several studies, kefir has anti-viral activities that work against rotaviruses, the primary cause of this infection [37, 38].

Polysaccharides in kefir such as lactic acid bacteria and yeasts demonstrated inhibitory effects on rotavirus and other strains of viruses [37].

In fact, a polysaccharide has a 97 percent inhibition rate against rotavirus infection [38].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 quart of water
  • One tablespoon of kefir grains

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil water.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Let it cool.
  4. Dissolve sugar in water.
  5. Add kefir grains.
  6. Drink mixture twice a day for one week.

RELATED: 11 Impressive Health Benefits of Kefir (Backed by Science)

13. Increase Fluid Intakes

Stomach flu causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc. All these physical hurdles lead to a lot of water loss for the body. You need to re-hydrate yourself to avoid further worsening of your physical condition.

It is advisable that you increase your fluid intakes and consume at least a cup of water every hour during stomach flu.

Only clean water isn’t sufficient to refill the loss of vital minerals in the body. Hence you should include clear broth, soup, rice water, juice, etc. to your diet. Below is a simple recipe for brown rice water, an effective home remedy for stomach flu in babies.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of brown rice
  • Water to boil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil rice in water for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Strain the rice and collect the water.
  3. Once the rice water is cool, sip on it.
  4. Repeat the treatment several times a day to get rid of stomach flu.
  5. Rice water is rich in electrolytes and helps to fight off stomach flu and related conditions.

14. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is the most popular kitchen ingredient for home remedies of all kinds. The acetic acid and alcohol contents in ACV have potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

You can consume ACV with honey, diluting them in some water to get rid of stomach flu naturally.

What You’ll Need:

  • One tablespoon of ACV
  • One tablespoon of raw honey
  • 1 cup of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add ACV and honey to warm water and mix well.
  2. Consume the drink thrice daily to relieve stomach flu, gas, cramps, etc. fast.

RELATED: 6 Tasty Ways You Can Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Lose Those Extra Pounds

15. Grape Juice

Grape juice contains polyphenols, particularly flavonoids that help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, helps to lower LDL from the body and so forth.

And the great thing is that this delicious drink also helps you to kill the nasty virus causing flu!

Grape juice helps in killing flu causing virus by changing the pH in your intestinal tract so that the virus can’t multiply.

What You’ll Need:

  • A glass of fresh grape juice

Recommended Directions:

  • Drink a glass of fresh grape juice with no added sugar after breakfast and in the evening every day to prevent the multiplication of virus and to get rid of flu completely

Some Q&A About Stomach Flu

How may I contract stomach flu?

Well, the most common way to get stomach flu is in direct contact with a person is infected with the condition already. Also, other ways of contracting the disease include eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

Is stomach flu more fatal for children?

Usually, children have an underdeveloped immune system. Therefore, unlike adults, they cannot recover from this condition without any complications. So, for them, viral gastroenteritis can be fatal.

What is the best way to avoid contracting this problem?

The best way is to wash your hands frequently with an antiseptic based bar soap or liquid soap.

What is the biggest risk due to stomach flu?

As you know that stomach flu brings in symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. So, when you have diarrhea and vomit a lot, you lose a lot of body fluid. Body fluid comprises of water and essential minerals. So, the biggest risk due to stomach flu is getting dehydrated. If you are dehydrated, then you need immediate and urgent medical attention.

What food to eat when you’ve stomach flu?

Any flu destroys the appetite and stomach flu is no exception! However, it’s extremely important to stay hydrated. You can have drinks like a sports drink, non-caffeinated soft drinks, or diluted fruit juices. Soups and broths are best for stomach flu. However, dairy products are best avoided as the fiber loosens the bowels even more. Along with dairy products, fatty and spicy dishes should also be avoided.

What medicines should be taken if the signs and symptoms of stomach flu don’t reduce?

For children having stomach flu, it’s best to avoid medicines as the symptoms can worsen. So it’s best to stay hydrated in their case. However, to reduce specific symptoms such as for pain or fever, you could take Acetaminophen (Tylenol). To get relief from diarrhea, you could take anti-diarrheal medications such as Loperamide hydrochloride (Imodium) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol).

What are some of the ways to prevent stomach flu?

Some of the best ways to prevent stomach flu include:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Use separate personal items around your home
  • Disinfect hard surfaces
  • Avoid under-cooked meat and fish
  • Drink clean drinking water


These home remedies for stomach flu can give you quick relief from the symptoms and make you feel better. However, there are instances when you should immediately consult a doctor.

So, you find blood in your vomit or stool, then contact your doctor straight away.

Be sure to consult a doctor IMMEDIATELY if you experience mental lethargy, or your symptoms are not improving after three days.

The above home remedies can help you get relief from stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea and other terrible symptoms.

Unless or until your condition doesn’t get worse, then these are simple but highly effective ways of combating this annoying medical condition.

We hope this article came to your help; if you have any questions or confusions regarding it feel free to ask us.

Also, don’t forget to share your experience with us by leaving your comments below.

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