Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning

If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know how miserable it is. I always keep natural remedies for food poisoning in my natural medicine cabinet ever since I experienced food poisoning myself (many of these remedies I already had for other uses!).

After a lovely date with my husband on a Wednesday night, I started to have a weird feeling in my stomach. I drank some apple cider vinegar, which is my normal remedy for any kind of tummy troubles and the feeling went away… until 3 a.m.

At 3 a.m., I was awoken by that feeling of needing to vomit but not being able to. I spent the next few hours with horribly cramping stomach aches and awful nausea. Then the vomiting hit… and did it ever!

I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but basically, I couldn’t keep anything down, including water, for the next 8 hours and I had really bad stomach cramps, dizziness, chills, etc. In fact, I had every food poisoning symptom.

Causes of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites present in contaminated food. Some foods are more likely to carry these pathogens (like raw meat and other animal products) but any food handled improperly can become contaminated. I take food safety very seriously at my home, but we have less control when we’re out. However, we try to only eat at restaurants that have zero food safety violations to avoid food poisoning.

Some of the most common pathogens responsible for cases of food poisoning include:

  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Shigella

The above common causes of food poisoning are not the only pathogens responsible for foodborne illness though. Despite there being many causes of foodborne illness, natural remedies for food poisoning should work for all of them.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is fairly easy to recognize. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Fever or chills

The above symptoms may also be present if you catch a stomach bug, so it can be difficult to tell the two apart sometimes.

Food poisoning comes on quickly and strongly and is usually within a few hours (up to 6) after eating a meal. Bloody diarrhea is typically a symptom of food poisoning but not a stomach bug.

Food poisoning (also known as foodborne illness) is often more severe than a stomach bug as well. Stomach bugs (often caused by norovirus) may come on slower, last longer, and generally be less intense.

Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning

When I got food poisoning I was very happy to have a few natural remedies already at home ready to use. Here are the most common food poisoning natural remedies:

Apple Cider Vinegar

At some point when I had food poisoning, I was debating going to the hospital to get an IV so I would have some fluids to be able to nurse the baby. Then I remembered the apple cider vinegar (ACV) and how it had helped for a few hours. So I tried it again and it worked!

A 2018 study confirms apple cider vinegar’s ability to kill pathogens. Researchers discovered that ACV has antimicrobial properties against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans.

This is important because when it comes to food poisoning, we don’t want to just get rid of symptoms since they are doing their job of riding the body of the invader. But ACV actually helps kill the pathogen that causes food poisoning while offering some relief from symptoms.

ACV is safe for most people, including children and women who are pregnant or nursing. According to an article on Harvard Health Publishing, long term use may cause potassium level issues, insulin level issues, or tooth enamel loss, so it’s best to use it judiciously (like for food poisoning). Doses of 1-2 teaspoons of ACV mixed in water or juice is good for adults. For children, cut this dose in half.

At first signs of symptoms, I took equal parts water (or juice) and apple cider vinegar (organic, with the mother!) and that did the trick.

Activated Charcoal

I also remembered something I learned in a class long ago about activated charcoal being a fast remedy for food poisoning. Activated charcoal can be helpful in dealing with severe to life-threatening intoxications including food poisoning. It does this by binding to the pathogen and removing it from the body. Activated charcoal is safe for most people including pregnant or nursing women and children.

The review stipulates that activated charcoal should be taken as soon as possible after the ingestion for the best effect. Dosage is 0.5 to 1 g/kg body weight in children or 50 g in adults. It’s generally a good idea to taper off the dosage if you take it more than once. Dosages may be different for different people and cases, so it’s always good to check with your doctor.

I took way less than the recommended dose (1/2 tsp) activated charcoal mixed into applesauce after taking the ACV. Within a few minutes, I started to feel a lot better. I repeated the regimen until I didn’t have symptoms.

Herbal Tea

Another helpful remedy for food poisoning is herbal tea. As mentioned earlier, we don’t want to simply mask the symptoms of food poisoning because they are doing their job. So a remedy that eases upset isn’t necessarily what you want (though you would feel better in the short term). However, along with the above remedies that deal with the underlying cause, a cup of herbal tea can be very soothing to a sore stomach. Here are my favorite stomach soothing herbal teas:

These herbs are generally safe for children and pregnant or nursing women in small amounts, but to be safe, always check with your healthcare provider. In addition to easing stomach upset, taking small sips of these teas can help the body stay hydrated once vomiting has eased up a bit.

Recovering From Food Poisoning: Home Remedies

When the vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea start to subside, you’ll still want to be cautious about what you put in your stomach. Here are some ways to recover from food poisoning according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease :

  • Ease into food and drink – You may be especially thirsty after food poisoning, but you’ll want to ease into ingesting anything. Start with a few sips of water or tea and then drink a bit more if you’re still feeling okay.
  • Electrolyte water – For rehydration, drinking water or an electrolyte drink such as coconut water or an electrolyte drink can help.
  • Avoid some foods – It’s best to start with bland foods. Carbohydrates like sweet potatoes are a good choice when reintroducing food after food poisoning. Fruit may also be easy enough on the stomach. Bone broth is my favorite food for getting some nutrition without causing upset in the stomach. Stay away from dairy products, grains, legumes, greasy or fried foods, or anything else that could cause digestive upset.
  • Take it easy when getting back to your regular daily schedule – Give yourself a chance to recuperate and nap if needed. Food poisoning is draining on the body so you may need extra rest.

Bottom line: Give the body some time to get better before jumping back into a regular diet and daily schedule.

When to Call the Doctor

Pregnant women, children, and older adults are at higher risk of complications from food poisoning, so it’s best to call the doctor to get medical advice right away. If you’re nursing, you need to be extra attentive to your hydration levels and may need an IV for fluids. You may also want to call if you have:

  • bloody stool or vomit  I might add that certain kinds of bloody diarrhea can lead to more serious health complications – but you’ve got it covered by saying call the doctor if there is bloody diarrhea
  • severe stomach cramping
  • Inability to keep liquids down for 12-24 hours or signs of dehydration (excessive thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, little or no urination, severe weakness, or lightheadedness)
  • Diarrhea for more than three days
  • An oral temperature higher than 104 degrees F

Also, follow your intuition. If you feel that you need extra support, follow that feeling. Give your doctor a call and get medical care if needed.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

Ever had food poisoning? How did you recover?

These natural remedies helped me overcome food poisoning in less than 24 hours. I used activated charcoal and apple cider vinegar.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


92 responses to “Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning”

  1. Karen Avatar

    My dentist also recommended me to take two capsules daily 3 days prior and 2 days following amalgam removal in my mouth. Just a friendly warming though- is break open the capsule and add it water or some food. I swollowed a pill it exploded when it hit my stomach. I had a cloud of black powder come out my nose and was nauseous for a 1/2 hour. The next 24 hours I had sinus discomfort. Also not safe if breathed into lungs. Use caution! Next time I used the activated charcoal, I broke open the capsule and added it to water.

    1. Tara Avatar

      This also happened to me! I burped up a black cloud of smoke. Luckily I didn’t breathe it in, I have read it can be very harmful to do that! I will forever mix it into a liquid or something like applesauce from now on.

  2. Diane Andres Avatar
    Diane Andres

    I took too much oil of organo and grapefruit seed extract during a diverticulitis flare up , I’m praying charcoal might help? I’ve had diarrhea ever since I took the oil and GFS extract. It’s a week now.,.cant eat just get pain and have to run

  3. Ana Avatar

    1:31 AM
    I was exhausted this morning even though I had 9 hours of sleep. I had lemon water and banana for my breakfast, along with a glass of orange juice. I went to the Gym and still felt tired. I worked out for an hour attributing my exhaustion to working out the day before. When I got home I had another banana and some more lemon water. Around 4:30 I had 2 sips of wine and I begin to feel off almost immediately. I started having stomach cramps and within 20 I had diarrhea. I began to drink water and eat crackers which led to more cramps and diarrhea. I started to feel hot, feverish and then about 30 minutes after eating crackers I threw up. I drank more water and then threw up again. It dawned on me that I had the food poisoning. Oh NO!
    I saw the remedies on the Earth Clinic website. So between 5:30 and 6 PM I had my first dose of ACV 2 tablespoons in warm water. Then I made & drank some Fresh Ginger Tea. I started to feel a little better in about 30 minutes. I finally mustered up the courage to eat a garlic clove while washing it down with water. I stop feeling nauseous and the diarrhea started to subside although I had not eaten in food since the crackers. My stomach cramps subside, I didn’t throw up again and I started to feel ok. Stomach Cramps started to occur again around 9 PM. I repeated one dose of each, Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger Tea and 1/2 a Garlic Clove. I dozed off for about 20 minutes. At 12:30 AM I ate a slice of Dry Toast. I drank a little water with lemon and salt. At 1:20 I ate another piece of Warm Bread with water. All of these remedies work wonders. The last time I had Food Poisoning it lasted for 3 days because all I did was drink water and kept trying to eat solid foods. It was terrible. I’m going to buy some more bananas tomorrow and coconut water for the electrolytes.
    Now I’m going to try and sleep after sipping on a little more water and also some lemon water.
    Wish Me Luck.

    1. Patti truckey Avatar
      Patti truckey

      You use just the colloidal silver? No water? No charcoal. I’m confused. Sorry you eat the garlic raw?

  4. Joe Patrick Avatar
    Joe Patrick

    I started vomiting today for 3 hours in spurts. I tried baking soda and distilled water, but that didn’t help matters.
    So I called my friendly Doctor from India, I live in Nashville, TN. On two different antibiotic meds.
    I have organic ACV and if I have the strength will buy activated charcoal tmrw.
    Is organic aloe and ACV good for fixing the pains in the stomach.
    Is tomato soup okay for a daily food source, I live alone and don’t really feel like eating or fixing any food.
    THX again for a great website,
    JoeP in Nashville 9/8/15
    Any comments and thoughts are appreci

  5. juliet Avatar

    Its works! Been sick for four days and came across your site. The Apple cider is a bit much but helped sooth t stomach right away. The charcoal pills are helping as well. Thanks a million!

  6. Maggie Avatar

    Great report! Sorry about your bouts with food poisoning! Not much feels worse!
    Thumbs up to the ACV and activated charcoal (which also can be found in most health food stores too).
    Something we keep in the herb chest for such occasions is OIL of OREGANO soft gels. SUPER for knocking down any suspected food poisoning! A couple of the soft gels and then repeat a couple of doses every 4 hours does the trick for us! Keep in mind … Oil of Oregano does not discriminate as to which kind of bacteria it kills, so you should also (IMPORTANT) replenish the good bacteria in your gut with acidophilus found in plain yogurt.
    Just a quick side note: ACV is hard on tooth enamel! Try sipping ACV thru a straw, minimizing the contact with your teeth. ;o)

  7. Jason Fonceca Avatar
    Jason Fonceca

    Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks to everyone in the comments. Helped me through a tough time yesterday 🙂

  8. Marshall Avatar

    Hey Wellness Mama! I’ve loved your blog for over a year now and find comfort in your info in the most dangerous of times. My kombucha animal sunk to the bottom and I hadn’t realized the top had gone bad so fast. It smelled fine, but I took a sip and knew it was bad. I gurgled and sipped some healthy ACV and went to find my activated charcoal. As I swished it around in my mouth and took a few capsules and felt so relieved to see that you’d done the same for food poisoning. Thank you for all that you do. ? -Marshall

  9. Jen Avatar

    Usually when people are SURE they have had “food poisoning,” and want to blame the last thing they ate, it was really a virus that they picked up a day or two earlier.
    Thankfully, activated charcoal is helpful either way!!

  10. Glenda Russell Avatar
    Glenda Russell

    I use organic coconut activated charcoal alone it will knock out any stomach upset. It has gotten me through the Noro Virus four times. That was the worst virus and hard to kill in your home. I will never be without my activated charcoal.

  11. Sophia Chang Avatar
    Sophia Chang

    I’m in China with second day of food poisoning (my second bout in this country – last one in ’06 after eating turtle – I’m adventurous, what can I say?) and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find activated charcoal, but there IS an apple cider vinegar drink here that tastes more like a soda. If I can’t find actual apple cider vinegar I’ll drink that instead. Just gotta make it through the night to morning when the stores open again. Crossing my fingers…

  12. Darcy Webb Avatar
    Darcy Webb

    I really like that there are so many natural remedies for many of today’s ailments. I wish we had kept to this approach instead of using so many antibiotics that cause so much collateral damage. I am definitely going to be keeping your tips about apple cider vinegar in mind!

  13. sara Avatar

    I ate bad tuna on monday, was sick from that night until the next with diarrhea and cramps and nausea. Now it’s wednesday and i’m back working but am curious…should i still get some ACV or charcoal?? Or will something like Pearls or plain yogurt be enough to get my gut healthy again and flush out the bad stuff??


  14. Daiana Avatar

    I have read this article a while ago and today it saved me!

    I had Sushi in town and in 15 minutes i felt huge pain in my stomach, headache, bloating … felt like i need to vomit … instantly knew it was food poisoning ….

    Thankfully i remembered what to do and i ran to the pharmacy to get some activated charcoal …. half an hour later felt good!

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  15. Sadie Avatar

    I was on the bathroom floor 5 hours ago, hugging the toilet, not having been this sick since my worst-ever food poisining in Vietnam…
    I asked by husband to get my computer, and found your remedy. I love all you other resources so I gave it a go. I am on a trip at a cabin in the woods in Sweden (I live in Norway), but had luckily brought with me my trusty unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.
    I’m not gonna lie, it was like you said, the last thing I wanted to ingest. But now, even though I am a bit weak and only eating boiled veggies, I am sooooo much better!
    I noticed it working just a half an hour after I started. I got a hold of some (lower-grade) carbon (hey, i’m in the mountains) and started taking that too, and it really feels like I will be back to my old self tomorrow, as opposed to the usual 5-day knockout…
    I recommend this to anyone!

  16. Anthony Downs Avatar
    Anthony Downs

    For anyone wondering where to get the charcoal you can find it at literally any Walmart even if they don’t have the capsules. You can do into the fish section and it will be labeled activated carbon. Same thing, hope this helps

  17. Veronica Avatar

    I am so grateful for this advice. I read it quite a while back and it saved me tonight.

    Earlier today, I ate some leftover Chinese food that I thought was fine. 4 hours later, I felt as if I had an alien invader. I immediately took iodine and Epsom salts since that usually helps me with any digestive problems I may have. It took me a while to realize I was on the cusp of food poisoning. I grabbed the activated charcoal, ACV an colloidal silver and kicked the invader to the curb before it had a chance to take me out.

    I’ve had food poisoning before when I didn’t have this knowledge at my fingertips, so I know what the alternative is. I’m so glad I spared myself.

    Thank you is not enough.

  18. Lucy Sisler Avatar
    Lucy Sisler

    Hi I was reading on webMD and the doctors said electrolytes work very well for dehidration, I am sorry for the miss-spelled words. Where could I get the charcoal? I also cannot keep anything down, what should I do?

  19. Rebecca Avatar

    So glad I came across this post, but only wish I’d been strong enough to google it 2 days ago when I had my first experience with food poisoning. Within an hour of eating the contaminated food, I knew something was amiss but I had no clue it would turn into violent vomiting every 15 minutes for the next 8 hours.

    At that point my DH had no idea how to help me other than empty my vomit bucket and bring me water/ginger ale, all of which came right back up. And I certainly couldn’t keep anything together long enough to google any food poisoning cures. Luckily I had some of my stepdaughter’s Pedia One leftover from a previous diarrhea spell so that made me feel less concerned about dehydration.

    But I SO wish I had read this before and had some of these items on hand. My stomach has finally stopped aching from the violent vomiting enough to sit up straight and tomorrow, I think I may finally bathe myself and go to the store to stock up just in case this ever happens again! (There was a point during that first night when I swore I’d never eat again)

    1. Yaitu Avatar

      OMgoodness! I know exactly what you mean, this past Tuesday I “exhaled” my entire dinner along with my 2yr old toddler, she’s fine now, but I went through that again last night with diarrhea now, it’s the worst feeling. An hour ago I drank the 1part water+1 part organic apple vinegar+1tsp bsoda….here’s hoping for a miracle! So hate feeling like this ….

  20. Mary Avatar

    Just used coconut charcoal with my sweet 3yo who found and drank a day old smoothie. She woke up this morning and vomited once. I gave her a 1/4t mixed in yogurt with raw honey & now she’s bouncing around like normal. (And equally fun were all my big kids reactions to black yogurt!!) Katie, you mentioned the charcol in a previous post a year (or three?) ago. I’ve had it in my house ever since just for this occasion. You saved the day again our house. 🙂 Bless you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *