Slippery Elm bark powder is one of my favorite “all purpose” herbs used for irritated mucous membranes. Slippery elm is a mucilage (that sounds slippery!!) that soothes and protects mucous membranes throughout the body, especially the endoderm lining of the digestive tract and acts via spinal reflex to soothe and relax all other embryonically related tissues (positively affecting cells lining the respiratory, urinary and reproductive tract).
What are Mucilages?
Some of the main constituents found in plant carbohydrates are gums and mucilages. Mucilages contain uronic acid, which forms a slimy substance when mixed with water. Mucilages are anti inflammatory, antispasmodic and protect against irritation. Gums offer a protective, slightly more hard and sticky quality, often found in thickening and bulking agents.
Properties of Mucilage Herbs
- Help to reduce irritation of the digestive tract by soothing, coating and protecting the membranes.
- Provides a buffer from excess stomach acid, acidic and spicy foods.
- Helps to absorb toxins from living or dead bacteria. Slippery Elm works well externally in a poultice for open wounds and ulcers.
- Helps to reduce spastic coughs , soothe a sore throat and remedy laryngitis.
- Decreases spasms of the urinary tract.
- Helps to decrease peristaltic action and decrease the ocurence of diarrhea.
- Helps to increase the production of watery mucous in the lungs to help loosen and discharge thick mucous from the respiratory tract.
I use slippery elm bark powder in my clinic for digestive upsets, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, crohns, colitis, reflux, ulcers -any condition where the mucous membranes need support and healing. This herb can also help to protect the body from the effects of too much stomach acid.
Slippery elm is a gentle bland tasting herb. It should be taken in powder form and mixed with water, into a paste, and eaten off the spoon.
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Remember…the information provided here is for consumer education only, the comments are not meant to diagnose, nor do they take the place of advice given in a clinic environment by a health care professional.