Lana Farson, M.S., L.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist

Remedies for Food Poisoning

Food poisoning can occur when one consumes spoiled food containing microbes that the belly is not used to.  There are various remedies for food poisoning depending on the pathogenic cause.  Some safe food-based remedies are listed below:

Umeboshi Plum (called ‘Ume’ in Japanese, & ‘Wu Mei’ in Mandarin) has antibiotic effects against various bacteria including Staphylococcus, E. coli, Salmonella and Mycobacterium.  Ume plum provides natural minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, iron and calcium.  Many medical studies have shown that ume plum markedly improves the fluidity of human blood, which is part of why is it so helpful at cleaning the body of toxins, improving the immunity and increasing metabolism.

‘Ume-Shiso Maki’ is my favorite remedy for preventing or correcting poisoning in

'Ume-Shiso' maki rolls.

'Ume-Shiso' maki rolls.

various cases, especially in the case of seafood poisoning.  This is a sushi maki roll (‘maki’ means ‘wrap’) made with two ingredients inside the rice and seaweed wrap.  The two special additions are umeboshi plum paste and shiso (perilla) leaf, which are perfect compliments and together strongly correct belly imbalances.  Manpuku sushi restaurant on College Avenue in Berkeley is the only local joint I know of that has this combo right on their menu.  Upon request, many other sushi places will make it for you if they have the ingredients on hand.

Fresh Shiso Perilla Leaf ('Ze Su Ye')

Fresh Shiso Perilla Leaf ('Ze Su Ye')

Perilla leaf (called ‘Shiso’ leaf in Japanese, & ‘Zi Su Ye’ in Mandarin), has antibiotic effects that inhibit the activity of the Staphylococcus bacteria.  It can stimulate the gastrointestinal tract by increasing stomach acid secretions and intestinal movement.  Perilla leaf can relieve stomach flu, acute enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine) manifesting as abdominal pain & cramping, nausea and diarrhea.  This leaf is commonly used to prevent and treat seafood poisoning and is traditionally included as a condiment when ordering sushi.  This was the inspiration for the plastic leaf often included in the packaged sushi you find at supermarkets.  The plastic substitute however seems to lack the taste and medicinal value of the fresh one!

Mung beans (called ‘Lu Dou’ in Mandarin) are a very valuable remedy for detoxification.  They are commonly used for skin toxins such as carbuncles, pimples, sores and ulcers.

Store bought mung bean cookies

Store bought mung bean cookies

They are also an effective antidote for the intake and overdose of many toxic substances, in cases of pesticide poisoning, drug poisoning and food poisoning.  Mung beans also prevent summer heat stroke, by reducing body temperature, relieving thirst and sweating.  The beans can be powdered to make a ‘mung bean flour’ and used creatively in various recipes, such as for making shortbread type cookies.  On a recent trip to India, several companions developed heat stroke and I was wishing I had planned ahead with mung bean remedies.  Next time, I’ll be sure to bring plenty of mung bean cookies in my suitcase!  Click here for a delicious mung bean cookie recipe.  Click here for a mung bean dal recipe.

Other Remedies

There are many other good herbal remedies for detoxification.  Before selecting one of these, it is important to discuss with your herbalist whether or not the remedy matches your constitution.  Here they are:

Purslane - can be eaten fresh in salads

Purslane - can be eaten fresh in salads

  • Licorice – energetically neutral
  • Dandelion – energetically cold
  • Honeysuckle – energetically cold; works like a natural antibiotic
  • Chrysanthemum – energetically cold; works like a natural antibiotic
  • Common Purslane – energetically cold; antibiotic effect against Bacillus dysenteriae, E. coli, Salmonella typhi, & Staphylococcus aureus
  • Seaweed – energetically cold; can pull heavy metal toxins (mercury, lead, aluminum, etc.) out of the body; due to high iodine content, can be used to treat thyroid gland disorders when western medications are not used (hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism) – talk to your practitioner about the safest way to do this.  Because seaweed also detoxifies the oceans, it is important to only ingest seaweed that has been harvested from clean waters.
  • Burdock Root – energetically cold; detoxifies the liver and the skin while nourishing the body
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract – natural antimicrobial against bacteria and fungi  for throat infections, diarrhea, ear aches, candida, and many other infections


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  2. Brady Chadbourne says:

    There are many natural antibiotics that you can utilize. For example, grapeseed extract is a good natural anti-microbial..:*:*


  3. Alex Fetzer says:

    Most ayurvedic herbs are actually natural antibiotics. In India, Sabinas corporation is actually focusing in mass producing natural antibiotics coming from indian herbs.`

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  4. Pui Yee Law says:

    No wonder my grandparents always told me to drink herbal tea to detoxify, which was made with mung bean and honeysuckle to cure acne, carbuncle or sores. It’s great to learn seaweed can pull away heavy metal toxin in last semester. How nice is it, we have so many natural medicine can cure & nourish our body!!

  5. Radha says:

    I am always surprised to find out how many people have never heard of mung beans. I wonder if they are hard to find at the regular safeway type markets

  6. Mia Yamamoto says:

    Has seaweed extract been used intravenously? With the large number of people overloaded with heavy metals, it seems that seaweed would be an excellent chelator.

    • Lana says:

      Seaweed is a good chelator, however the issue these days is the quality of the seaweed. Since the 2011 Fukishima radiation spill, the seaweed in Asian waters has been chelating the ocean so it probably contains excess radiation.

  7. Heiko Schindler says:

    It’s very true about the detox value of mung bean. I’ve noticed that I went on a diet with mung bean for three days n there was a dramatic change of my skin ( for the better)

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  22. Binyamina says:

    I didn’t know about the anti-poison benefits of ume plum. I have trouble with the taste but now I will try it again 🙂

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