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Indigestion Remedies: Why Slippery Elm Is Critical For GI Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Much of our health resides in the gut or gastrointestinal tract (GI).  If you are suffering from stomach troubles, the herb slippery elm can be one of the best indigestion remedies.  The slippery elm is a small tree that grows in several areas of North America. It has many other names like:

  • North America Elm
  • Red Elm
  • Moose Elm
  • Indian Elm

Its health benefits come from the inner bark, not the whole bark, which is tough yet very flexible.  It has a faint but distinct odor and is most commonly found in tablets, capsules or a very fine powder for oral ingestion.

Choose slippery elm for an effective indigestion remedy

Slippery Elm and a Healthy GI Tract

The inner bark of the North American elm has been used for centuries to treat a variety of disorders from the inside out of the body.  With no known negative side effects, it is a safe gentle indigestion remedy that can help keep your GI tract healthy.

Related: Foods the Health-Conscious Will Want to Avoid

Slippery elm (also known as ulmus fulva) forms a very thick, soothing gel and easy to digest complex carbohydrates when mixed with water. The mucilage, as it’s known, easily adheres to the lining of the digestive tract from the esophagus to the stomach and the large and small intestines.  It has a very soothing effect and can be used as an effective indigestion remedy for:

For Ulcer Symptoms – these painful breaks in the lining of the stomach and intestines can be treated with slippery elm.  The soothing mucilage coats the lining of the GI tract and helps heal the damaged tissue of ulcers.

Treating Diarrhea – slippery elm contains tannins that tighten and contract human tissue.  The resulting fluid retention helps halt loose stools and works as a diarrhea treatment.

Easing Heartburn – in the same way it coats and soothes the stomach and intestines, slippery elm can do the same for heartburn, caused by stomach acid that back washes through the stomach valve into the esophagus.  It also reduces inflammation and pain while it helps the damaged tissue repair itself.

Irritable or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS) - slippery elm can offer relief to those suffering from IBS because it is easily digestible and won’t worsen the symptoms of the disease like painful gas, bloating and diarrhea.  Its ability to reduce inflammation and coat damaged tissue helps prevent inflammatory bowel disease bouts and keep those suffering from it more regular.

There are no known, negative side effects to using slippery elm.  It has been used for centuries by people as indigestion remedy and topically to treat wounds to speed healing. 

Pregnant or nursing women should not use slippery elm simply because there is not enough data to determine if it might be harmful to a fetus or infant.  Otherwise, even small children can benefit from ingesting the herb to soothe upset tummies, or as a diarrhea treatment.

The herb can be found in many forms.  For ingestion, tablets, capsules or a fine powder are best.  The mild nutty flavor makes the powder and excellent additive to water forming a thick pasty beverage that you can drink.

If you are suffering from GI tract disorders and looking for safe natural indigestion remedies, give slippery elm a try.

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