Loose stools are a common problem among babies and toddlers, and parents often search for simple effective treatments. When kids’ diarrhea is severe, doctors usually recommend oral rehydration with a glucose-electrolyte solution (Arzneimittelforschung, 2006). What other remedies might a parent choose when the situation is not so serious?
Remedies for Kids’ Diarrhea:
Q. I so appreciate you writing about home remedies. When I had diarrhea as a little kid, my mother would grate an apple. Once it turned brown, she’d feed me a few spoonfuls. In addition, I’d have toast and plain rice for a day or two instead of my usual food. She said it was pectin in the apple that eased diarrhea.
BRAT May Help:
A. Thank you for your recollection. This sounds quite similar to the BRAT diet that is still recommended by some pediatricians for kids with digestive upset. It stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Bananas and apples are good sources of pectin which may help ease diarrhea. Rice and toast are considered easy to digest.
Research on Pectin for Kids’ Diarrhea:
In some countries, chamomile tea is a frequent remedy for digestive upset. Parents usually believe that it is safe enough to treat little kids’ diarrhea. German researchers compared a combination of apple pectin and chamomile to placebo in a study of 255 youngsters. For these children between 6 months and 6 years old, the apple pectin-chamomile remedy worked better than placebo.
More recently, a meta-analysis of international research articles found no benefit to kaolin-pectin, probiotics or micronutrients for children’s diarrhea (PLoS One, Dec. 5, 2018). However, a study in Bangladesh determined that both green banana and pectin are useful for treating diarrhea in babies under a year old (Gastroenterology, Sep. 2001). As the investigators note, parents can use this approach either in the hospital or at home.
So far as we can tell, there is nothing about letting the grated apple brown that would enhance its effectiveness.