Monthly Archives: August 2006

Slippery Elm Bark Powder- Ulmus fulva

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

  1. Help to reduce irritation of the digestive tract by soothing, coating and protecting the membranes.
  2. Provides a buffer from excess stomach acid, acidic and spicy foods.
  3. Helps to absorb toxins from living or dead bacteria. Slippery Elm works well externally in a poultice for open wounds and ulcers.
  4. Helps to reduce spastic coughs , soothe a sore throat and remedy laryngitis.
  5. Decreases spasms of the urinary tract.
  6. Helps to decrease peristaltic action and decrease the ocurence of diarrhea.
  7. 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.

For more reading and to purchase Slippery Elm powder click here:

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.

Home Remedies: Scented Herb Pillows

Herb Pillows

Sachets filled with medicinal herbs add a subtle scent to a room and more importantly, many aromatic herbs are gently calming and sleep inducing, ideal to place by a pillow at night for a deeper sleep. Any aromatic herbs with nervine or relaxant properties can be used in a sachet.

Mix well and scoop into a cotton bag or muslin sachet.

Great for children and adults alike for stress and tension, the gentle scent will assist the body to unwind at night, and can also be used for its mild insect repellent properties.

To purchase herbal ingredients for eye pillows click here.

How To Choose A Quality Multi Vitamin

When starting a health program, most people feel inclined to begin with a multivitamin. While a multi vitamin does not contain a high enough dosage of any one nutrient to be considered ‘treatment’ for any specific health concern; a multi vitamin is still a useful supplement. I consider a multi vitamin essentially a ‘peace of mind pill’; providing nutrients that one may be lacking in a less-than-optmial diet.

Just as there are various brands and qualities of automobiles on the market, the same is true for brands of nutritional supplements. Marketing plays a big role in sales…What brand names come to mind when you think of multi vitamins? Now go and check their labels! Sadly, just because a brand has been ‘marketed’ successfully does not necessarily mean that it provides the best nutrient value or is the cleanest supplement.

To help guide you in the right direction of a quality multi vitamin, keep your eye on the following:

1. I am a big advocate of label reading, beginning with the non-medicinal ingredients. The non medicinal ingredients can very quickly shed light on the quality of the supplement you may be considering.

A quality multi vitamin should always be free from sugar, lactose, sucrose, wheat, dairy, artificial colourings and chemicals.

I recommend choosing a multi vitamin that is free from synthetic additives such as: propyl ethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, FD & C colorings, cotton seed oil, mineral oil, aspertame, sorbitol, carmel color, corn starch, methylparaben, dl’alpha tocopherol (synthetic vitamin E), propylparaben, hydrogenated oil, sunset yellow FCF coloring and sodium lauryl sulfate.

These agents are an extra burden for your body and should be avoided in all supplements.

2. Check out the amount of B vitamins provided in your supplement.

B1-thiamin, B2-riboflavin, B3-niacin, B5-pantothenic acid, B6-pyrodixine, B12 -cyanocobalamin, folic acid and biotin are all part of the vitamin B group. B vitamins are essential for healthy nervous system function, supporting our bodies during times of stress and used for concentration, energy and endurance.

The B vitamins are water soluble, which means that they are not stored in the body. When under stress our bodies require higher amounts of this group of nutrients. I like to see at least 25 mg, and ideally 50 mg or higher of most of the B vitamins in a multi-vitamin.

3. Ensure that the vitamin E contained in the multi is from a natural source. The body utilises and absorbs synthetic products very differently than a natural source vitamin. You can tell the difference by reading the fine print. Synthetic vitamin E is identified as: dl’alpha tocopherol. The presence of the ‘L’ means that it is synthetic. A natural source vitamin E is identified as d’alpha tocopherol and ideally contains mixed tocopherols such as beta, delta and gamma tocopherol for enhanced benefits.

4. Choose a supplement that contain Vitamin D3 in the form of cholecalciferol, which is easier for the body to use than its alternative -ergocalciferol.

5. Calcium. The recommended daily allowance of calcium is between 1000 mg-1200 mg daily for a women aged 30-40. This dose is not possible in a multi vitamin, simply due to the size of the pill required to provide that dosage unit, thus supplementation with extra calcium will be useful. That said, you can ensure that you are taking a multi vitamin containing calcium CITRATE for best absorption.

6. You can find multi vitamins in tablet, capsule, liquid and chewable form. It is likely that liquids and chewable vitamins contain additional sweeteners, so read the fine print for details.

7. To best utilise the benefits of the nutrients and for added energy throughout the day, take a Multi Vitamin with your morning meal.