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First Aid for Stomach Woes

What to do if you have an upset stomach or food poisoning? It’s important to be prepared ahead of time, because once you are sick it’s hard to start looking up info on the internet.

Food Poisoning from What????

Last weekend my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful vacation. We had a great time hiking and were pampered at a hotel. It was the perfect holiday… until we got home.

We both ended up with food poisoning and both had a terrible night. I ended up having to go to an emergency clinic in town because I developed a fever, and I was concerned I was dehydrating. I was not able to keep any fluids down, even though I only sipped water.

The culprit? Not the food at the hotel, but a closed bag of cashews! Yes, cashews can often cause some stomach cramping, but in this case these cashews must have been contaminated with an infectious organism. Both my husband (who normally has a stomach made of steel) and I reacted very violently to remove the toxins from our bodies. It was not fun.

I wish I had prepared a list and a stomach first aid kit, to be able to use in this type of situation. When you are violently sick, it’s hard to think.

I tried to look up what to do on the internet, but the advice that came up seemed useless and were not from sites that I trust. I was not about to experiment on myself in the state I was in.

I decided to prepare myself and help others who may encounter a similar situation and for those who just have a mild upset stomach.

I am lucky to have some great practitioners as friends as well books I have learned to trust and rely on.

What To Do for an Upset Stomach

Frankie Avalon Wolfe is a reflexologist and also a herbalist. I have often used her Herbal Remedy Book. In her chapter about Food Poisoning, Frankie reminds us that vomiting is a reaction triggered by something harmful to the body and writes:

Thank goodness for this mechanism – it protects you from absorbing poisons that reach the stomach

This is true and I am thankful that both my husband and I have bodies that knew how to get rid of the toxins with consumed. However, I could not imagine someone who is weak and frail, especially an elderly adult, go through this. In that case it would be important to immediately seek medical care.

Frankie recommends for nausea and vomiting:

Spearmint leaves which are anti-spasmodic. She also writes that spearmint leaves are:

Especially good for someone suffering from dry heaves meaning that the stomach is empty, but the regurgitation process is still active (ugh!).

Ginger is good for its anti- nausea effect

During my bout of food poisoning, I remembered and made ginger tea, but I didn’t feel it helped. No wonder it didn't. I was way passed nausea, past vomiting and was already having dry heaves. Now I realize that I needed the spearmint tea!!! I will certainly make sure I have some tea bags of spearmint leaves at home and in my travel first aid kit!

Reflexology and a Belly Massage can also be very helpful for upset stomachs. A trained massage therapist can help relieve constipation by working very slowly and gently in circular movements around the navel.

In this video I demonstrate how you can gently move your hand on your belly in a clockwise direction and how to do the same on your hand with reflexology for an upset stomach and tummy aches.

This can be calming and work wonders for tummy aches and upset stomachs, but do not expect it to help while retching from food poisoning.

(In case you didn’t know, we have a video page with other reflexology for self- care videos:

Homeopathy to the Rescue

Dr. Yvette Lever is a South African trained homoeopath and has specialized in family practice for people (and their pets) for over 25 years. She treats patients/families from all over the world by Zoom and offers family homeopathy workshops to learn how to use a homeopathic first aid kit.

I am very lucky to have a homeopath as a friend and Dr. Lever has helped myself, my family, and our pets on many occasions. Unfortunately, I did not want to bother Dr. Lever at night when I was suffering from food poisoning, but now I wish I had because one of these remedies might have saved me having to spend 3 hours at the emergency clinic.

Dr. Yvette Lever, Intuitive Homeopathy kindly shared her advice for food poisoning and upset stomachs:

These are the food poisoning remedies to have in your Homeopathic First Aid Kit. I suggest using remedies with a potency of 30C. Please contact me for information if you have not taken my or another family homeopathy workshop

In a severe case like Oran’s, the first remedy you would think of is ARS ALB. It is used in cases where the poisoning is severe, and the person may be very dehydrated and weak. Often their bodies are eliminating from both ends, so the person doesn’t know whether to sit on the toilet or put their head in the toilet bowl!

When the food poisoning is from spoiled fish or meat, this is definitely the first remedy to reach for and so is also an important remedy to have in your travel kit if you are travelling to a third world country.

If you have a sensation of burning, then ARS ALB is also the first remedy you would think of. The person who needs ARS ALB as their first aid remedy is often thirsty but will only feel like drinking water in small sips. Another guiding symptom is anxiety. If you, or the person you are treating, is feeling very anxious or fearful, even if their symptoms are not so severe, then choose ARS ALB as your remedy.

My favorite “go to” remedy for the digestive tract is CARBO VEG. None of my regular patients would call me for first aid advice for any sort of diarrhea or vomiting from whatever cause, if they haven’t already taken carbo veg and found it not to be helping in their case, because after being in my care for any period of time, they would have learned that this is the first remedy I will suggest.

CARBO VEG is simply a wonderful general remedy to give to anyone - from a new born baby to a frail old person with any sort of digestive upset including food poisoning.

Another great remedy to have in your “Homoeopathic first aid kit” is NUX VOMICA. This remedy is generally known as THE remedy to prevent hangovers. People take it to prevent symptoms from overindulgence of alcohol or food. You can take it before you go out and then again after the party/wedding etc.

NUX VOM is also useful if you get sick from overeating or eating foods that your body can’t cope with like too much fatty foods for a sensitive system. Sometimes the person isn’t sure whether they feel sick because they have overeaten, or have eaten food that has been spoiled such as in food poisoning.

So, if you don’t feel well and you suspect food poisoning, but you are not sure, NUX VOM is a great place to start. If you are prescribing for someone else, if you notice that the person is irritable or grouchy, then chose NUX VOM as your remedy.

You can contact Dr. Lever at

Ask Nurse Judy

I wish I had a Nurse Judy to turn to when my kids were growing up. Judy has been a pediatric nurse since 1981 and worked at a pediatric clinic for over 30 years. Nurse Judy answers all the pressing questions a parent can have and she does so with important info and humor from her own family experiences. I am proud to be the friend of this woman.

We often are concerned when we need to seek medical help. With young children this is especially concerning. In Nurse Judy’s blog post Tummy bugs 101/dealing with diarrhea and vomiting Nurse Judy gives pointers when you need to seek medical help:

If they are refusing fluids or can't keep down anything, you need to check in with your doctor’s office. If they are vomiting up bile (bright green) that is another signal that their tank is really on empty, and they need a little help turning things around. These are the kids that sometimes get carried into our office draped over their parent’s shoulder.

If I am giving phone advice, and it sounds like a child is dehydrated, I am usually going to skip the office visit. If the child is lethargic and you have been attempting small amounts of fluids and failing, then a trip to the emergency room is appropriate. Once there your child may get some IV fluids which often perk them right up.

Although this is advice for young children, I think it is also helpful for adults. “My tank was empty,” and I needed help. In my case the help was a shot to stop my stomach contractions that went into a endless loop.

Had I Nurse Judy’s advice I would have felt surer of my decision to seek medical intervention and perhaps gone earlier and saved myself a few hours of suffering.

Read the whole blog to get more great info about stomach bugs and you can Follow Nurse Judy on FB:

Summary Chances are some of us will get a stomach bug again or food poisoning. I’m going to be prepared by making sure I always have the following either at home or in my first aid travel kit:

1. Spearmint and Ginger tea bags

2. Reminder to use the hand reflexology points

3. Homeopathic remedies ARS ALB, CARBO VEG, NUX VOM

4. Reminder Nurse Judy’s advice – vomiting up bile means you need medical help and check for dehydration.

Wishing everyone the best of health! Happy Easter, Happy Passover and Ramadan Kareem


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