Thursday, December 3, 2009

Your Friend & Mine: Slippery Elm

At the most recent celiac support meeting we had a somewhat long discussion on the benefits of ingesting slippery elm bark. Now I take an abundance of alternative, weird-sounding vitamins and supplements, and only recently added slippery elm into the mix. You can buy and ingest it in all forms: teas, throat lozenges, liquid, capsules,....you get the point.

What is it you ask? The slippery elm tree is Native to North America and likes to grow in moist environments, like Florida. The bark of this tree has been long used as an alternative medicine. The sap from the tree has been used for healing skin conditions, such as cuts, burns, and bug bites, and the bark from the tree can be ingested to help with inflammatory issues.
Only recently did I realize that it is the second ingredient listed in one of my favorite sick-time teas: Throat Coat. You'll notice if you ever drink it as a straight tea, the longer you let it sit the more of a slightly slimy consistency it will take on. In fact, This same slick, slightly mucus-like consistency will occur inside your body. The bark creates an extra layer of protection, if you will, along the digestive track to help ensure smooth sailing. This can be a great thing for people who's digestive tracks need a little extra help, such as people with IBS, Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, and Celiac Disease. In that regard slippery elm somewhat mimics what prescription drugs like Asacol do. From what I can find there has not been any official research done on slippery elm and Celiac disease, however the community seems to agree that it is beneficial.

Keeping all of this in mind you can see why it might also be beneficial if you have a sore, scratchy throat, to suck on a lozenge with slippery elm as an ingredient.

So next time you accidentally get gluten in your diet I suggest trying some slippery elm right away, paired with some probotic drinks, and some apple cider vinegar.

I recommend iherb for all your online needs.

Some good sources about slippery elm can be found here & here

1 comment:

oli said...

Interesting, I will have to give this a try.