Looking for herbs to help a friend who was put on a bland diet and there is no taste to it.

vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

My friend knows I have been trying to learn more about herbal medicines and get away from pharmaceuticals.

She sent me this message yesterday:

"I had influenza A with severe diarrhea was dehydrated but had signs of water retention gained 8 pounds in one day. Needed to alleviate the diarrhea so we can assess the fluid retention."

Doctor put her on the "Brat Diet" I had never heard of it. I looked it up and found this...

You may have heard of the BRAT diet which stands for Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast. The BRAT diet was often recommended for nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but is no longer because of how restrictive it is. Below are lists of foods to focus on and avoid when experiencing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, but there are many more foods that can be included.

She is having a hard time with the lack of flavor in what they have her eating. Can anyone recommend some herbs or something she can flavor her food with to make it more palatable? I'm thinking ginger, maybe fennel, lemon grass tea, I know she needs more fluids as she was dehydrated. Not sure what else might help her.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin
    edited October 2023

    Even though she is experiencing fluid retention, she still needs to hydrate because of the fluids she will be losing through the diarrhea.

    As to the BRAT diet, I'm surprised that her doc recommended it because of its lack of nutrition and caloric content. She needs to rebuild her strength through nutrition.


    1. Raspberry leaf as a nourishing herbal infusion. Will hydrate and stop the diarrhea. Oatstraw would be another good one as a nourishing herbal infusion for its nutritive properties. It will also help with any stress she might be experiencing.
    2. Coconut water to hydrate.
    3. There is another discussion on Electrolytes (with some of your suggestions @vickeym) at: https://community.thegrownetwork.com/discussion/843317/electrolytes Ones with citrus might not be the best as the acid might be irritating to sensitive bowels.
    4. Yogurt to replace good bacteria that may have been lost with the diarrhea (keeping in mind that she might have been told to avoid dairy).
    5. Smoothies that can be made with coconut water, yogurt, apple, banana and other fruits of your choice (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.).
    6. Lassi (Ayurvedic beverage) - 50% plain yogurt, 50% water (or coconut water) and a pinch of fresh ginger.
    7. Bone broths (or veggie stocks). Super nutrition but still easy on the digestive system. Add as many culinary herbs as you like. Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (where have I heard that before, lol), oregano, marjoram, tarragon, basil, savory, etc. Miso soup is another idea.
    8. Oatmeal (steel cut Scottish oats) for nutrition, fibre (to aid with diarrhea) and as a demulcent to soothe any passage that may be irritated with the diarrhea. Or Red River cereal if you can find it. NO SUGAR! But add spices; cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
    9. Psyllium husk will add good fibre but add in small amounts to start. If you don't have access to psyllium, then pick the plantain seeds that are ready right now. Dry them and add in very small amounts to start. Sprinkle on oatmeal or over yogurt.
    10. Ginger, fennel and lemon grass are good suggestions. Ginger will help to relieve cramping and any nausea that she might be experiencing. Fennel will help with bloating and is high in fibre. Cinnamon is another that can assist with diarrhea and make things taste so much better; add to oatmeal, yogurt, sprinkle on fruit or toast. Cardamom helps with bloating, cramping and nausea but is also a mild diuretic to assist with water retention (4 cardamom pods in 2 cups of water, simmered for 30 minutes). Garlic is good for just about anything, especially for boosting immunity. Lemon balm tea. Licorice tea is demulcent so soothing for the bowels and is a good flavouring agent (if you like licorice).
    11. If she is having teas, simmer astragalus root (for about 15 minutes) in the water to be used for the tea and then strain into your mug with the tea herbs. That will add a natural sweetness to the teas. A piece of cinnamon stick could be added as well.
    12. Avoid supplements with magnesium (contributes to loose stool). Avoid vitamin C as the acid could irritate the bowel.

    That's a lot of different suggestions but not all might be readily available so pick and choose as to what is convenient for her.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    KP recommends carob powder for diarrhea so you might be able to add some to your bananas, sprinkle cinnamon on your apples and if it is OK with the diet, cook the rice in bone broth (or any kind of broth you like).

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,279 ✭✭✭✭

    Be sure not to let her use berries of any kind for a while and then start them slowly. The blackberries and raspberries usually have seeds and are an irritant.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you all. I have shared the information with her. Hope this helps not only with flavor but to get her back on her feet faster. Hoping to get her to join us as well.