You probably all have experienced getting travel diarrhea and/or food poisoning, especially westerners going to high-risk countries in Asia, Africa, Middle East, South and Central America. 

What can we do if we do get sick?

If the jungle bug hits you, here are some tips of what can get you up and running again and help you move away from living on the toilet in no time!

Bacteria can get in the glass in many ways

What are the most common signs and symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea?

  • Abrupt onset of passage of three or more loose stools a day
  • An urgent need to defecate
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

You typically develop traveler’s diarrhea after ingesting food or waterthat’s contaminated with bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Scaring off the jungle bug

​What can you do when the jungle bug bite you?

Diarrhea and vomiting can really throw off your body’s balance of fluids and electrolytes.

Electrolytes are minerals, such as sodium and potassium which help with everything from keeping your heartbeat normal to controlling how much water is in your body.

So your main job is to drink plenty of fluids. Start with ice chips or small sips if you need to.

Cambodia Coconut luxury

1. Drink electrolyte-fortified liquids.

Vomiting can cause an electrolyte imbalance, so you also need to drink fluids that restore the balance, as water alone will not help you recover.

  • In Costa Rica the Ticos often drink coconut water if they get problem with their stomachs. So if you get sick on your travels – drink only pure water from your water filter bottle and coconut water until you are feeling better…
  • Add some Himalaya salt, honey and lemon in your water to stay balanced and hydrated. In a litre of water, mix 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice along with honey and salt according to taste. Drink it on a daily basis to prevent dehydration.
  • Coconut water should be in addition to pure water, since only pure water can rehydrate you fully.
  • Gatorade is rich in electrolytes and popular artificial choice for the ill traveler.
  • You can also make your own oral re-hydration solution. To make this, boil one liter of water and add six teaspoons of sugar and a half teaspoon of salt (preferably Himalayan salt) to the pot. Take care to drink it slowly.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Apple Cider Vinegar or ACV as it is commonly called is a vinegar made from apples. It has many health benefits, most important of them being to cure food poisoning.
  • It is one of the best treatments to cure food poisoning due to its alkaline effect.
  • The antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar are very effective against foodborne pathogenic bacteria like Escherichia coli. ACV is also a rich source of minerals and enzymes that can help in stabilizing your body after a bout of food poisoning.
  • Mix 2-3 teaspoons of ACV in a cup of hot water. Consume the prepared drink before eating your meal. If the problem persists, consume 2-3 teaspoons of undiluted ACV for better results.
  • Drink this 2 to 3 times daily.

​3. Ginger

The Benefits of Ginger:

  • Ginger is ideal in assisting digestion, thereby improving food absorption and avoiding possible stomach ache.
  • Ginger has demonstrated a success rate of 75 percent in curing morning sickness and stomach flu.
  • Ginger is a known effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.
  • Ginger improves the absorption and stimulation of essential nutrients in the body. It does this by stimulating gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion.
  • Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for colds and flu around Asia.
  • Ginger contains some of the most potent anti-inflammatory fighting substances known and is a natural powerful painkiller, similar way to aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • If you’re suffering from common respiratory diseases such as a cough, ginger aids in expanding your lungs and loosening up phlegm because it is a natural expectorant that breaks down and removes mucus.
  • Ginger contains chromium, magnesium and zinc which can help to improve blood flow, as well as help prevent chills, fever, and excessive sweat.
  • Ginger helps improve the immune system. It decreases bacterial infections in the stomach, and helps battle a bad cough and throat irritation.

It is recommended to boil a cup of water with one spoon of grated ginger in it. Alternatively, you can consume pieces of ginger directly or put some in your water. You are advised to consume them minimum twice a day till the problem persists.

​4. Lemon Drink

Lemon is considered as the “king of remedies” as far as food poisoning is concerned. Lemon juice is a rich source of antioxidants that improve the overall healing of your body. It exhibits exceptional bactericidal activities that can help combat the bacterial pathogens responsible for causing food poisoning, Lemon juice also aids digestion and helps you recover faster.

Owing to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, honey is also one of the most effective food poisoning remedies.

Just mix juice of a lemon with a teaspoon of honey in a cup of lukewarm water and consume directly.

​5. Garlic

Garlic is famous for its antipyretic and cardiac properties. But it is an effective digestive agent also.

Swallow one clove of garlic daily with a glass of water. You can consume garlic juice also if you cannot stand the smell of garlic. Otherwise, prepare a mixture of garlic and soybean oil and massage it on your stomach after dinner.

​6. Apples

Apples plays an important role in curing food poisoning. Apple considerably reduces reflux and heartburns. It prohibits the formation of bacteria that causes stomach ache and diarrhoea.

Grate an apple finely and eat slowly.

​7. Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds or ‘zeera’ in Hindi is a very popular home remedy for the treatment of food poisoning.

In a cup of water, boil cumin seeds and add freshly extracted coriander juice and consume it twice a day. Else, you can have a mixture of salt, cumin seeds and asafetida. Consume this drink 2-3 times a day.

​8. Papaya

Chew on a some papaya seeds daily to strengthen your immune system.

The enzymes present in green papaya are known to heal the wounds and ensure effective digestion. To cure food poisoning, it is advised to consume a boiled green papaya to obtain its benefits.

​9. Essential Oils

  • Add a few drops of basil oil in water and consume.
  • Coriander oil is also known to have antibacterial properties.
  • Peppermint oil is great for your digestion
  • Citrus fruits oils such as orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime etc. are great for your stomach
  • Ginger oil works as well as the fresh or dried ginger

Grape fruit seed oil kills all parasites in its way, even candida. Grapefruit seed extract possesses antimicrobial properties. These properties fight the pathogens responsible for food poisoning and also help you recover faster.

  • Oregano oil. Oregano essential oil can work wonders in treating food poisoning. It contains compounds like carvacrol and thymol that impart excellent antimicrobial properties to it and help eliminate the pathogens responsible for food poisoning

Thyme oil contains compounds like thymol, carvacrol, and linalool that have antimicrobial and antiparasitic properties. Hence, it can be effective against various foodborne illnesses.

​10. Herbal teas

For cure and revival of ailing digestive system, it is advised to drink the variety of herbal teas such as meadowsweet, green chamomile, comfrey root, peppermint and liquorice tea.

​11. Get plenty of rest

You can never get tired of resting… 😉 Sleeping things off is one of the best cures for most things in life. Sleep also causes the body to release hormones that can slow breathing, and relax other muscles in the body. This process can reduce inflammation and assist with healing. Recovery takes work and you need energy to work. … It is best to let your body keep everything in proper alignment with a good night’s and sometimes day´s rest.

​12. Additional tips

  • Drink a room temperature can of flat cola with two teaspoons of salt (at least cola can be good for something).
  • Basil or Tulsi leaves are the best herbs against food poisoning. The antimicrobial properties of tulsi help eliminate the microbes that cause food poisoning.
  • The combination of tulsi and cardamom works wonders in alleviating vomiting and nausea.
  • Stay away from dairy, caffeine, alcohol, bubbly or fizzy drinks, or spicy and fatty foods — they can just make everything worse.

Relaxing in the pool of Hotel La Diosa, Costa Rica

What can you do when you are feeling better?

13. Slowly introduce solid foods back into your diet.

Your stomach cannot properly digest food when you first come down with food poisoning — but once you are no longer suffering from active travel diarrhea, you can reintroduce into your diet food that’s bland, low in fat, and low-fiber (think rice, toast, bananas, and baked potatoes).

  • Bananas are a good remedy to cure food poisoning as they are very light and easy to digest.
  • Cornstarch is used to speed up the healing and recovery process. It can be consumed with a glass of orange or apple juice.
  • Start by eating small amounts frequently, and if you start feeling sick to your stomach, revert back to liquids.
  • Foods that contain salt, like soup and crackers, also serve to restore much-needed electrolytes.

​14. Avoid food that can potentially upset your stomach

Dairy products, greasy or fried foods, high-fiber foods (e.g. bran, nuts, seeds, raw veggies), spicy foods, and coffee can all upset your digestive tract, so avoid these foods until you start feeling better. 

Your stomach will thank you.

Ginger tofu at Wood house, Koh Kong, Cambodia


As a conclusion, it is better to be proactive and do what you can to prevent to get sick (you can read tips about how to prevent it here).

But when the jungle bug bite you, pick the easiest options on the list above that you have around you, rest and burn it off. 

Stay conscious, stay kind – to yourself and your body as well as the planet!

Please share your home remedies and tips for stomach problems in the comments below!

About Author

We are a goofy family of 5 – Susana, Oliver, and kids Ellice (born 2004), Theo (born 2006) and Hugo (born 2010) - who is a funny mix of modern spiritual beings and science nerds who love to travel, do energy work to reactivate ourselves and the planet, while living the life we always dreamt of.

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