While your physician may prescribe pharmaceuticals to cure a stomach virus, you may wish to seek alternative or complementary treatments to speed healing. Many spices and herbs may contribute to your treatment, killing off the virus and easing symptoms. Consult your health care provider before adding spices and herbs to treat your condition to avoid any interactions with medications.
When a stomach virus lays you low, consider adding ginger to your diet or drinking ginger tea to help fight your illness. The University of Maryland Medical Center website reports that ginger rhizome has long served as a home remedy for calming the stomach, but many people use it to fight colds and flu symptoms, such as those that occur when you have a stomach virus. No scientific evidence exists to support the use of ginger for curing stomach viruses.
Cinnamon adds zest to many dishes, but you may also use it to help kill off viruses that make you sick. A study published in the August 1998 issue of the "Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin" indicates that cinnamon may inhibit tumors caused by the HIV virus. Herbwisdom.com points to German approval of cinnamon as a treatment for E. coli infections. Cinnamon may also ease symptoms associated with cold and flu when used as a home remedy.
Garlic has shown some anti-viral effects and research featured in the December 2008 "Medical Hypotheses" indicates that this spice's ability to fight viruses comes from a compound known as allicin. The allicin in garlic may help get rid of stomach viruses and keep your immune system healthy. No research specifically connects garlic or allicin with stomach viruses.
Evidence available in the October 2008 journal "Harefuah" suggests that mint may have anti-viral effects, although this study states that human and animal studies are needed to determine if mint can kill stomach viruses. In addition to its potential use as a curative agent, mint has long been in use to ease the symptoms associated with stomach viruses, including nausea and vomiting. Note that mint may not be a good choice for treating viruses if you have heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease, as this herb relaxes the band of muscle between the stomach and esophagus. This can make heartburn symptoms worse.
The University of Maryland Medical Center website notes that rosemary may have antimicrobial qualities, which may play a part in ridding your body of stomach viruses. Although no scientific evidence exists to support the use of rosemary for this purpose, some herbalists prescribe it to ease nausea and cramping that may occur when stomach viruses make you ill.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Ginger; November 2008
- "Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin"; Anti-HIV-1 Activity of Herbs in Labiatae; K. Yamasaki, et al.; August 1998
- Herbwisdom.com: Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
- "Chinese Medical Journal"; Demonstratin of the Anti-Viral Activity of Garlic Extract Against Human Cytomegalovirus In Vitro; N.L. Guo, et al.; February 1993
- "Medical Hypotheses"; A New Therapeutic Candidate for Oral Aphthous Ulcer: Allicin; X.W. Jiang, et al.; December 2008
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Garlic; November 2008