Note: Do consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Use home remedies just as an adjunct treatment.
Cholera epidemics claim many lives every year in underdeveloped and developing countries. It is an infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae that mostly affects the small intestine.
This infection can spread from contaminated water, raw fruits and vegetables, grains, raw or inadequately cooked fish and seafood, and contaminated feces.
It is very common among children under age 5, but it can also affect people of other ages. Within a week of ingesting the bacteria, symptoms will start showing that can range from mild to severe.
Watery diarrhea is the most common symptom of cholera, which can lead to dehydration and serious conditions if not treated timely. Other symptoms include stomach cramps, dry mouth, dry skin, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, exhaustion, weakness and restlessness.
As cholera is highly contagious, you need to take precautions to stop the spread of the infection and get proper treatment. Also, you can use a number of home remedies to help treat the symptoms and promote quick recovery.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for cholera.
1. Increase Fluid Intake
The first step in treating cholera should be rehydration. Due to diarrhea, there is a high chance of becoming dehydrated and this can worsen your condition.
So, drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated. But not just any water, you need to drink bottled water or water purified with iodine or chlorine. To be on the safe side, boil your water before drinking it.
Along with water, you can also drink coconut water, buttermilk, herbal tea or orange juice throughout the day.
2. Homemade ORS
Prompt restoration of lost fluids and salts through oral rehydration solution (ORS) can help reduce the intensity of symptoms and aid quick recovery. You can use ORS approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) that are readily available in the market. You can also make ORS at home.
- Mix ½ small spoon of salt and 6 small spoons of sugar in 1 liter or 4 cups of clean water.
- Drink this as many times as possible until you recover completely.
3. Probiotic Yogurt
Probiotic yogurt is also effective in curing cholera. It contains healthy bacteria that promote digestion and help fight off the bacteria causing cholera. Plus, probiotic yogurt is good for your immune system.
- Eat 2 to 3 cups of plain probiotic yogurt daily until you get relief. You can add some banana slices to it for added benefit.
- You can also make a tasty smoothie with yogurt and drink it several times a day for faster recovery.
Being a natural antibiotic, ginger helps fight infection and cure cholera. It can also help get rid of diarrhea, stomach cramps and abdominal pain.
- Grate a small piece of ginger and mix it with 1 teaspoon of honey. Eat the mixture to improve your digestive process.
- Alternatively, you can make a ginger tea. Add thin slices of a small piece of ginger to 1 cup of water. Also add a few black peppers, holy basil leaves and mint leaves. Boil the water for a few minutes, strain and add some honey. Drink a few cups of this herbal tea daily until you see improvement.
Note: Avoid ginger if you are taking blood thinners.
Lemon is also helpful in treating cholera due to its antibacterial property. It can help destroy the harmful bacteria in the intestines and digestive system that cause cholera. Plus, the vitamin C in lemon boosts the immune system to speed up recovery.
- Mix the juice of ½ lemon in a glass of water.
- Add a little honey and salt, and stir well.
- Drink it at regular intervals until you recover completely.
Note: Do not give honey to children under 1 year of age.
6. Zinc Supplements
A 2008 study done in Bangladesh found that zinc supplements are beneficial in reducing the duration and severity of cholera in children. Zinc has more than 200 human enzymes that help fight off the infection and boost the immune system.
- WHO and UNICEF recommend 10 to 20 mg of zinc per day for children with diarrhea due to cholera.
- Also, include foods high in zinc like spinach, brown rice, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils and garlic in your diet.
According to Ayurveda, onion is also effective in curing cholera. Onion has antibacterial as well as antibiotic and antiseptic properties. Plus, it helps relieve symptoms like dry mouth, restlessness and thirst.
- Prepare a paste with ½ onion and 7 or 8 black peppers. Divide this paste into 3 doses, and have it 3 times daily for a week.
- Alternatively, mix together 2 teaspoons each of white onion juice and bitter gourd juice. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to it. Drink this 2 times daily to recover quickly.
Cloves are also helpful for treating cholera as it helps ease abdominal discomfort. Plus, the chemical compound called eugenol found in cloves helps destroy intestinal bacteria and parasites that can cause or worsen diarrhea.
- Put 10 to 15 clove buds in 5 to 6 cups of water.
- Boil the water until the quantity is reduced by half.
- Strain and allow the solution to cool.
- Drink it at regular intervals until your condition improves.
9. Fenugreek Seeds
To get rid of severe diarrhea due to cholera, fenugreek seeds are also very effective. The high mucilage content in fenugreek seeds will bulk up your stool, and thus help reduce the severity of diarrhea.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seed powder, 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and a little roasted cumin seed powder. Take this 2 or 3 times a day for quick recovery.
- Another option is to add 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seed powder to a glass of warm water. Drink it 2 times daily until you get relief from diarrhea.
Note: These remedies are not suitable for small children.
In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is often recommended for treating diarrhea, one of the most common symptoms of cholera.
- Soak 1 tablespoon of raw turmeric root pieces in lemon juice for 2 hours.
- Remove the turmeric pieces and dry them in the sun.
- Grind the dried pieces into a powder and store it in an air-tight container.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of this powder and a little honey to a cup of hot water.
- Drink it twice daily until you recover completely.
Note: Be sure not to take high doses of turmeric, which can make your diarrhea worse.
- Drink filtered or boiled water.
- Store water and food in closed containers to prevent contamination.
- Wash your hands before cooking or eating.
- Follow a very light diet for 1 to 2 weeks.
- Avoid spicy, oily and junk foods.
- Avoid milk and other dairy products.
- Take a hot bath 1 or 2 times daily to keep your body warm.
- To prevent vomiting, suck on a small piece of ice or ginger candies.
- Apply cold compresses on the stomach to get relief from stomach cramps and abdominal pains.
As prevention is always better than cure, opt for vaccines available against cholera.