The Dire Rear

Until recently, one of the few commercial products I could find no substitute for was Pepto Bismol and its generic cousins. Serious Googling led me to the idea of tea. In this case, when I say “tea,” I mean what we meant when I was a kid, what is now called “black tea,” to distinguish it from all the fancy teas currently afflicting our nation. The difference is that black tea is fermented.

After I tried it and it worked, I dredged up a memory. When I was in grade school my aunt tried to give me tea as a diarrhea remedy. At the time, I’d never had it, didn’t like it and wouldn’t drink it. Now, I don’t mind it and am grateful to have found this alternative.

Among its advantages: you can order it in a restaurant or drive-thru, it’s inexpensive at the grocery store, nobody has to know why you’re drinking it, and it’s eligible to be purchased with EBT, where OTC medicines are not.

Tea works for diarrhea, but has no special effect on intestinal gas. For that, try 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda stirred into six ounces of water. Do not take  baking soda if your stomach is overly full with food or drink. Baking soda can also help acid reflux. For acid reflux, also try chewing gum for half an hour after meals, to increase the flow of saliva.

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