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Slippery Elm bark was used both internally and externally by Native Americans and early pioneer settlers. The inner bark is used for its soothing and emollient effects.
Nature's Way Slippery Elm bark is harvested from wild trees with a careful stripping process that does not hinder the tree's growth.
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Other herbs traditionally used to treat reflux and heartburn include digestive demulcents (soothing agents) such as aloe vera, slippery elm, bladderwrack, and marshmallow.1 None of these have been scientifically evaluated for effectiveness in GERD. However, a drug known as Gaviscon, containing magnesium carbonate (as an antacid) and alginic acid derived from bladderwrack, has been shown helpful for heartburn in a double-blind trial.2 It is not clear whether whole bladderwrack would be as useful as its alginic acid component.
Demulcents herbs may be used to treat indigestion and heartburn. These herbs seem to work by decreasing inflammation and forming a physical barrier against stomach acid or other abdominal irritants. Examples of demulcent herbs include ginger, licorice, and slippery elm.
The mucilage content in slippery elm appears to act as a barrier against the damaging effects of acid on the esophagus in people with heartburn. It may also have an anti-inflammatory effect locally in the stomach and intestines. Two or more tablets or capsules (typically 400–500 mg each) may be taken three to four times per day. Alternatively, a tea is made by boiling 1/2–2 grams of the bark in 200 ml of water for 10 to 15 minutes, which is then cooled before drinking; three to four cups a day can be used. Tincture (5 ml three times per day) may also be taken but is believed to be less helpful. Marshmallow and bladderwrack may be used the same way as slippery elm.
Demulcent herbs, such as marshmallow, slippery elm, and bladderwrack, are high in mucilage. Mucilage might be advantageous for people with gastritis because its slippery nature soothes irritated mucus membranes of the digestive tract. Marshmallow is used for mild inflammation of the gastric mucosa.1
Doctors sometimes use a combination of herbs to soothe inflammation throughout the digestive tract. One formula contains marshmallow, slippery elm, cranesbill, and several other herbs.1 Marshmallow and slippery elm are mucilaginous plants that help soothe inflamed tissues. Cranesbill is an astringent. Clinical trials using this combination have not been conducted.
Herbs high in mucilage, such as slippery elm, mallow (Malvia sylvestris), and marshmallow, are often helpful for symptomatic relief of coughs and irritated throats. Mullein has expectorant and demulcent properties, which accounts for this herb’s historical use as a remedy for the respiratory tract, particularly in cases of irritating coughs with bronchial congestion. Coltsfoot is another herb with high mucilage content that has been used historically to soothe sore throats. However, it is high in pyrrolizidine alkaloids—constituents that may damage the liver over time. It is best to either avoid coltsfoot or look for products that are free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
The mucilage of slippery elm gives it a soothing effect for coughs. Usnea also contains mucilage, which may be helpful in easing irritating coughs. There is a long tradition of using wild cherry syrups to treat coughs. Other traditional remedies to relieve coughs include bloodroot, catnip, comfrey (the above-ground parts, not the root), horehound, elecampane, mullein, lobelia, hyssop, licorice, mallow, (Malvia sylvestris),red clover, ivy leaf, pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides, Mentha pulegium),onion, (Allium cepa), and plantain (Plantago lanceolata, P. major). None of these has been investigated in human trials, so their true efficacy for relieving coughs is unknown.
The slippery elm tree is native to North America, where it still grows primarily. The inner bark of the tree is the main part used for medicinal preparations.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.
|Supplement Facts |
Serving Size: 4 capsules
|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Total Carbohydrate||1 g||<1%*|
|Dietary Fiber||<1 g||3%*|
|Slippery Elm (bark)||1.48 g (1,480 mg)||**|
|*Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. |
**Daily Value (DV) not established.
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