Slippery elm shown to help a wide variety of digestive problems
(NaturalHealth365) Centuries ago Native Americans shared with European settlers their knowledge about the healing properties of slippery elm – especially as it related to inflamed throats. In recent decades, slippery elm has been the focus of several medical studies exploring alternative solutions for gastrointestinal disorders.
Slippery elm is the inner bark of Ulmus fulva, a variety of elm widespread in the East Coast of North America and parts of northern Asia. Many U.S. health food stores carry slippery elm as a finely ground powder, colored tan and smelling vaguely like maple syrup.
How slippery elm can become your best healing friend
On one level, slippery elm works as a mucilaginous coating. Because that mucilage contains insoluble polysaccharides, it resists breakdown when exposed to stomach acid – thereby protecting the gastrointestinal lining.
A common dosage for slippery elm is one teaspoon, mixed with water, honey or apple juice, until it forms a semi-fluid paste. And, this paste may be eaten three times a day.
Discovering a healthy alternative to antacids
Mucilage’s resistance to stomach acid makes slippery elm a gentle alternative to antacids, H-2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors – remedies that can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and interfere with the absorption of essential minerals.
Integrative physicians often recommend slippery elm as a treatment for gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD). The herbal powder can also ease the discomfort of peptic ulcers.
In cases where helicobacter pylori has not caused the ulcer (for example, when NSAID use has thinned the stomach lining), slippery elm can help the body heal the lesion.
Great news: Taking the “irritable” out of IBS
In 2001, a clinical trial in Australia studied herbal mixtures as treatments for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The trial included patients suffering from both kinds of IBS: one variant featuring diarrhea with alternating bowel habits; the other characterized by constipation.
Slippery elm figured in the herbal mixtures prescribed for both categories of patients.
Across the board, the herbal mixtures eased such symptoms as abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence and straining to move the bowels. Patients suffering from constipation experienced greater bowel regularity.
Eliminating the inflammation linked to IBD
About three million Americans suffer from the life-altering problems of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Slippery elm has the potential to help one IBD subgroup: patients with ulcerative colitis (UC).
A 1999 medical study compared the effectiveness of Western medicine (including prednisone) and traditional Chinese herbs to treat UC. Slippery elm consistently performed well.
Overall, the herbal treatment had a higher success rate than the pharmaceuticals: 84 percent cured or improved, as compared with 60.5 percent.
Several years later, British researchers established slippery elm’s antioxidant effect on the mucosal lining of UC sufferers. That study tested the same group of herbs explored in the Chinese trial.
In addition, slippery elm proved a superoxide scavenger, thus having the potential to heal the auto-immune damage done to the colon.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
Natural Health 365
Natural Health 365 is a premium source of trending and popular health-related news, science, testimony & research articles on the most up to date and relevant natural health information. The Food & Nutrition articles found herein are meant to inform and advise our site visitors on eating healthy, nutritious foods and safely using supplements and vitamins to achieve optimal health.
Join thousands of daily visitors staying informed and involved on Natural Health 365! We seek out scientific solutions with proven results and it is our mission to keep you informed! Articles range in topic from the cancer fighting qualities of Olive Oil, to the remarkably high concentration of anti-oxidants found in blueberries, to how to make your own almond milk, to a nutritional comparison of organic vs conventional produce, to an analysis of the health benefits of tree nuts. You can find all of the Food News Articles here
Read Some of Our Most Popular Articles
Artichokes, Olive Oil, Almond Milk, Blueberries
More Food & Nutrition Articles
Fresh Organic Produce Fights Cancer, Susan G. Komen on Organic Foods, Hemp Seeds for Inflammation, Pau D’Arco For Improved Immunity
In addition to exploring health benefits of certain foods, vitamins and supplements, we also aim to connect healthy eating and balanced consumption of dietary supplements to long-lasting health and adding healthy, happy years to your life. For example, did you know that eating Granny Smith Apples on a regular basis can reduce your chance of building up unhealthy gut yeast? Or that ingesting ground hemp seeds can significantly reduce inflammation throughout the body? Perhaps you didn’t know that Fresh Organic Produce has been found to have higher concentrations of key, cancer-fighting anti-oxidants and vitamins than conventional produce? You can find all of that information and more right here on Natural Health 365.
We’d love to know what you’re thinking! Please join the conversation on Facebook, post comments here on the website and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
Please use and share the articles you find here with your friends, family and peers.