Cholera is an acute infection that results from the ingestion of a bacterium known as Vibrio cholerae found in contaminated water and food. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the primary source of this faecal contamination is poor sanitation and inaccessibility to clean water. This is further worsened in areas where elemental environmental infrastructure is lacking. Cholera breakouts are also seen in countries where there is war and nationwide emergencies that increase the risk of cholera as seen in cases of massive displacements of people.
As mentioned above, cholera occurs as a result of faecal contaminated food and water. The symptoms usually start to show within seven days of consuming the contaminated food. These symptoms range from mild to extremely severe symptoms which, left unchecked, can be fatal. The most common symptom of cholera is extremely watery diarrhoea which leads to severe dehydration.
Other accompanying symptoms include a dry mouth, dry flaky skin, nausea, increased exhaustion, bodily weakness and abdominal cramps. Many affected people will often experience vomiting and diarrhoea at the same time. Owing to the severity of these symptoms, it is extremely important that affected people get immediate medical attention. In addition to this, it is important to understand that cholera is highly contagious. As such, great caution must be taken to curb the spread of the disease while providing the required medical care.
There are home remedies available for the natural treatment of cholera, but note that this MUST never be used as the sole form of treatment because cholera can be fatal. The remedies listed below must only be used as an adjunct form of treatment in addition to the prescribed medication. Remember to consult your doctor prior to the use of any of the home remedies.
1. Increased Fluid Intake:
Time Required: Varies, but ought to be round the clock.
What You Need: Increased intake of fluids.
One of the characteristics of cholera that makes it so severe is the extreme dehydration that interferes with the normal functioning of the body systems. Consequently, the first home remedy recommended for the natural management of this disease is increased fluid intake. Increasing the amount of fluids not only helps with re-hydration, it also eases the accompanying symptoms and provides relief. Counter the effects of diarrhea by increasing the amount of fluids taken. There is a catch however: fluids to be taken must be prepared in a hygienic manner lest these fluids make the condition worse. Water especially, must be boiled to get rid of the contaminants. The other alternative is to use purifying chemicals to make the water safe to drink.
Fluids that you can take to treat Cholera:
- In addition to purified water, it also helps to add orange juice, coconut water and herbal teas to this form of treatment in order to get relief from the symptoms.
- Rice water has also been shown to be an effective option in reducing the severity of cholera.
- Remember to take these fluids consistently throughout the day until you get relief from the condition. This should be used alongside the prescribed medication.
2. Home-Prepared ORS:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Teaspoon of salt, 6 teaspoons of sugar and 1 litre of sterilized drinking water.
A homemade ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) remedy is another solution that you can use for the natural treatment of cholera. This is a simple but very important remedy that involves the use of salt, sugar and water using the ratios provided above. This allows for the quick restoration of fluids lost through diarrhea. The ORS also works to reduce the severity of the symptoms while improving the rate of recovery. When given in the early stages of the disease, it is possible to prevent the dehydration from worsening. Remember, at the core of this remedy is the need to use purified water lest the disease advances as a result of preparing the ORS using contaminated water.
NOTE: Do not be tempted to increase the ratios in a bid to get a more potent remedy. This is because high concentrations of the sugar may actually make the diarrhea worse. Stick to the ratios provided.
- Place 6 teaspoons of sugar in a jug containing 1 litre of sterilized drinking water.
- Add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to this water.
- Take a few minutes and let the sugar and salt crystals dissolve in the water.
- Stir the solution to aid in the dissolution.
- The ORS remedy you have just prepared is now ready to drink.
- Take this remedy throughout the day until you have made a full recovery.
NOTE: Readily made ORS sachets are also available at your nearest chemist. The directions for these sachets are indicated on the packaging, and are just as simple.
3. Probiotic Yogurt:
Time Required: Varied throughout the day.
What You Need: 3 cups of probiotic yogurt,
Probiotic yogurt is not only great at maintaining the health of your gut, it is also an excellent remedy for the natural management of cholera symptoms. This is because the yogurt is rich in probiotics that help fight off the bacteria responsible for cholera, Vibrio cholerae. The good bacteria present in the yogurt also improve the process of digestion. Additionally, this type of yogurt is known to improve your immune system so that the body is better able to fight off the infection.
- Take 2-3 cups of probiotic yogurt daily until you recover.
- You may add slices of ripe banana which are known to curb diarrhea and reduce the severity of the symptoms.
4. Raw Ginger:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: A small piece of raw ginger and 1 teaspoon of raw honey.
Tap into the healing properties of raw ginger to manage the symptoms of cholera. Ginger’s potent antibiotic properties are great at helping fight off the bacteria responsible for causing cholera. What’s more, ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties that ease the stomach cramping and reduce the abdominal pain. All you need for this remedy is some raw ginger and a teaspoon of honey.
- Peel and clean a small piece of the raw ginger before grating it.
- Mix the ginger gratings with the teaspoon of raw honey.
- Take this mixture as often as you need to.
5. Zinc Supplements:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: Zinc supplements.
Research carried out in how to treat and manage cholera shows that zinc supplements are one of the best ways to reduce the duration and intensity of symptoms associated with the infection. Zinc is recommended because it allows for the optimal functioning of more than 100 human enzymes, thus fighting off the infection and helping strengthen the body’s immune response.
In fact, studies show that following fluid loss due to the diarrhea, the reduced absorption of water has been linked to a deficiency in the levels of Zinc in the body. By increasing the amount of Zinc in the body, you help with the absorption and electrolytes. The advantage of using zinc is that it can be given to both adults and children.
- Get the proper dosage of zinc supplements from your doctor and make sure to take daily.
- It also helps to take foods that are rich in zinc to counter the effects of cholera. These include sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, garlic, brown rice and spinach.
6. Lemon Juice:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Lemon, 1 glass of purified warm water, a pinch of salt and a dollop of raw honey.
Lemon is recommended as one of the easiest home remedies for the natural treatment of cholera. This is because the juice’s healing properties are known to help get rid of the bacteria responsible for causing cholera. Lemon juice is also excellent at boosting the immune system to enhance the process of recovery. Add salt for its ability to restore electrolyte balance in the body, and honey to sweeten the mixture.
NOTE: Honey should not be given to children below one year.
- Roll the lemon on a working surface to enhance juice production.
- Add the juice to a glass of purified drinking water.
- Add the honey and a pinch of salt before stirring the mixture.
- Drink this remedy throughout the day until you make a full recovery.
7. Fenugreek Seeds:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of fenugreek seeds and 1 glass of warm water. Alternatively, use 1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder, 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and roasted cumin seed powder.
Tap into the healing goodness of fenugreek to treat and manage the symptoms of cholera. Fenugreek has a high mucilage content that counters diarrhoea by helping bulk up stool. This reduces the extent and severity of the diarrhoea while providing relief from the accompanying symptoms and discomfort the disease brings about. There are two ways in which you can use fenugreek seeds: prepare the powder and take it in paste form or put add the seeds to water and drink the resulting mixture. Follow the simple directions below to get the most out of fenugreek.
Using Fenugreek Powder
- Take 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seed powder and mix it with the roasted cumin powder.
- Add plain yoghurt to the powder and mix well.
- Use this remedy thrice daily until you make a full recovery.
Using Fenugreek Seeds
- Place 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in 1 glass of warm purified drinking water.
- Let the seeds soak overnight.
- Take the resulting mixture the next day to curb diarrhoea and shorten the recovery period.
NOTE: This remedy is not recommended for small babies.
8. Handy Tips that Help with Cholera Treatment and Prevent its Spread:
- It is important to observe proper hygiene as poor sanitation is the leading cause of cholera. In line with this, make sure that you drink only filtered/ boiled/ purified water. Remember to store food and drinking water away from potential contaminants.
- Wash your hands with soap after every toilet visit and before handling food.
- Lastly, if possible, get vaccinated against cholera – though you may need to note that this lasts just about six months but is effective during cholera breakouts.
- It helps to avoid dairy and dairy products as these are thought to exacerbate the symptoms of cholera.
Treatment options are available for cholera patients, but for them to be effective, medical attention must be administered immediately. The home remedies listed above are recommended only as an adjunct form of therapy and not as the sole treatment option. Consult your doctor beforehand.