Herbs and dietary supplements, when combined with a positive diet and lifestyle, can bring amazing results in the journey of psoriasis healing. Benefits of slippery elm bark tea for psoriasis are well acknowledged. It is very soothing in nature. When applied externally (in the form of poultice or salve), it soothes burns, boils, wounds, ulcers and skin inflammation. When taken internally (orally), it relieves sore throats, coughs, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, bowel inflammation and various gut related problems. Dr Pagano has advised to drink various herbal teas including slippery elm and saffron tea in his natural treatment regimen to heal psoriasis.
Read more: Dr Pagano diet for Psoriasis
Edgar Cayce, also known as the father of holistic medicine, has widely recommended drinking slippery elm tea in many of his teachings to relieve various digestive health issues including constipation, indigestion, bowel inflammation, hyperacidity, stomach ulcer and irritable bowel syndrome.
Let us know Slippery elm
Slippery elm is a tree, native to North America, has a long history of use as an herbal remedy. Essiac tea, promoted as a North American remedy for Cancer treatment contains slippery elm as an active ingredient.
It is the inner bark of this tree that contains all the medicinal benefits. This inner bark is collected, dried and powdered.
- Fine powder to make tea
- Coarse powder to make salve and poultice
Slippery elm bark contains mucilage, a gummy substance that gets discharged from the bark when it comes in contact with water. This mucilage is a polysaccharide (long chain carbohydrate) -easy to digest and non toxic in nature.
What does it contain
The mucilage contained in slippery elm bark is a water soluble fiber that swells in water to make a slick gel. This gel coats and soothes your mouth, throat, stomach and intestinal linings. Apart from mucilage, slippery elm bark contains antioxidants and various nutrients. These nutrients include natural sugars, phenols, starches, vitamins (beta-carotene, vitamin B1, B2, B3 and vitamin C), minerals (magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium, calcium, potassium) and phytochemicals. The phytochemicals are the naturally occurring plant chemicals such as beta-siteosterol and flavonoids which are responsible for the antioxidant properties of slippery elm.
Benefits of Slippery elm bark tea for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder related to a compromised gut health and faulty immune system. The compromised body metabolism, poor digestive health, chronic constipation, accumulation of body wastes- all these factors lead to inflammation and leaky gut which is turn can trigger an autoimmune response in the form of psoriasis.
How is Slippery elm bark tea going to help here?
It is a complete digestive tonic- soothes the whole digestive tract, cleanses it, promotes healthy gut bacteria, stimulates mucus secretion and relieves constipation. It nourishes and soothes your whole digestive tract.
A case study conducted by Dr Amy C Brown and team at University of Hawaii at Manoa illustrates that drinking slippery elm tea and yellow saffron tea along with a dietary protocol relieves psoriasis symptoms.
Slippery elm to relieve constipation
It contains a unique combination of water soluble as well as water insoluble fibers making it a natural laxative- safe and non-habit forming. The dietary fiber content of slippery elm is quite comparable to that of psyllium husk. – 100 grams of inner bark would provide around 60 grams of dietary fiber, including mucilage.
How slippery elm bark relieves constipation?
It is a 2-step mechanism
- The mucilage swells many times when comes in contact with water- 50 to 140 times than its original size- to become a soft, bulky, slick gel. This gel adds bulk to the stool for easy elimination.
- This mucilage gel coats the inner lining of colon to impart a lubricating effect to support the smooth passage of fecal material.
Read more: Avoid constipation at any cost
Slippery elm is an amazing herb for the digestive system
- Soothes your whole digestive system
The mucilage gel acts as a lubricant on your digestive tract. It soothes the inner linings (mucous membranes) of the mouth, throat, stomach, intestines and kidneys to give relief from various digestive system related disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, stomach ulcer and Gastroesophageal Reflux disease (GERD). In short, it acts as a protective bandage and safeguards your digestive organs against inflammation, pain and itching.
As published in the Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology, Jan-Feb 2012, slippery elm can be used as a herbal medicine to treat ulcerative colitis.
- Detoxifies the whole digestive tract
The bulky, gelatinous mucilage gel absorbs various toxins while travelling downward through the digestive tract. It slides slowly absorbing toxins such as undigested food, bad microbes (yeast, fungi, bacteria, viruses), cholesterol deposits, trans fats, saturated fats and other wastes to leave your digestive tract clean and toxins free.
- Acts as a prebiotic and promotes healthy gut flora
There are billions of microbes in your gut. The healthy microbes are known as probiotics and unhealthy ones are known as pathogens. To enjoy optimum digestion and body immunity, these microbes should remain in a balance. Any decrease in probiotics would result in rapid growth of pathogens. Such a disturbed gut flora can cause gut inflammation and worsen leaky gut syndrome to trigger an auto-immune disease.
The dietary soluble fibers present in slippery elm bark acts as prebiotics. It means that they themselves don’t provide any healthy bacteria, but, they feed the probiotics already present in your gut. These fibers break down through a natural fermentation process to feed the probiotics so that they can grow and proliferate to maintain a healthy gut flora.
At the same time, mucilage is a gelatinous substance, absorbs toxins from your system to avoid any undesired growth of pathogens in your gut.
- Relieves ulcer and acid reflux
Slippery elm increases mucus secretion in gastrointestinal tract. It would safeguard your gastrointestinal tract from ulcer and excessive stomach acid.
- Antioxidants present in slippery elm bark relieve inflammatory bowel conditions. The phytochemicals in slippery elm bark exhibit antioxidant activity and they work in cohesion with the mucilage to relieve intestinal inflammation.
Researchers at the Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London observed that antioxidant properties and high mucilage content in slippery elm makes it a good herbal remedy to treat inflammatory bowel diseases.
Good to know
- Slippery elm bark is a low-calorie, wholesome nutritious food which is easy to digest. That’s why slippery elm porridge is recommended for infants as well as adults recovering from illness and trauma. Hence, regular consumption of slippery elm bark tea not only fixes the gut issues, but, provide nutrition as well.
- It provides a feeling of fullness to suppress the appetite. Hence, it somewhat helps you to stay away from food cravings and stick to the diet protocol.
- It has a mild diuretic effect- causes frequent urination to flush the kidneys to expel excess stored water (and salt) from your body.
External use to reduce skin inflammation
Slippery elm bark acts as an emollient when used topically on your skin. It reduces the skin inflammation and has a healing effect. Use of salves and poultices, made up of slippery elm bark to heal boils, ulcers (mouth ulcer), burns and also psoriasis.
To make a poultice, mix coarse powdered bark with hot boiling water. Mix well to make a thick paste. Let it cool a little and then apply on the affected area. Tie a piece of cloth on it to keep it in place. In general, external use of slippery elm bark is not popular for psoriasis because it is quite complex to apply and hold the paste on various parts of your body. Oral consumption in the form of tea and capsules is more popular.
How to consume
For optimum benefits of Slippery elm bark tea for psoriasis, drink it in the morning around 30 minutes before the breakfast. Once you start the elimination diet, drink it everyday for 1 month, followed by drinking it every other day- one day on and one day off- till you improve your symptoms significantly. In case of severe psoriasis, drink it everyday till your skin gets clear.
Drink slippery elm bark tea in the morning and American saffron yellow tea at night before going to bed. Maintain a healthy time gap of 8 to 10 hours between these two herbal teas because slippery elm tea coats the digestive tract whereas American yellow saffron tea flushes the liver and kidney. Hence, these two teas impart sort of opposite effects. So, drinking them within a short span of time would almost nullify the effect.
Read more: Saffron tea for Psoriasis
Slippery elm bark is commercially available in three different forms:
- Slippery elm bark powder– It is the conventional, preferred and most effective way of consuming slippery elm bark. The per dosage cost is also on the lower side as compared to capsules. Just pour 1 cup (8 ounces/ 250 ml) of boiling water on half to one teaspoon of bark powder, mix it well and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Stir again and drink it. One additional cup of water would help as mucilage absorbs a lot of water. It has a slight chalky taste- flavorless and tasteless- just like oatmeal.
- Slippery elm bark capsules– If you find the taste of slippery elm bark too irritating, you can try the capsules. General dosage is- 2000 to 3000 mg per day. Remember to take capsules with a large glass of water otherwise it can cause choking or bowel obstruction. Simply drink one additional glass of water to avoid any such possibility. Check the instructions printed on the capsule box to get exact recommendations.
- Other forms of slippery elm bark include lozenges and tea bags.
The US Food and Drug Association (FDA) and United States Pharmacopeia (USP) has labelled slippery elm as a safe herbal medicine for oral consumption.
- Slippery elm bark coats the digestive tract. Hence, it can reduce the absorption and effectiveness of any other oral medicine that you take immediately after drinking slippery elm tea. To avoid this, it is always better to have a gap of at least two hours between drinking slippery elm bark tea and taking any medicine.
- One of the uses of slippery elm bark in earlier times was to abort pregnancies. Hence, pregnant women and those trying to conceive should avoid it. Similarly, the breastfeeding women should better avoid it or consult an alternative health expert before consuming it.
- It is a herbal laxative because of the rich dietary fiber content. Drink enough water along with this herbal powder as the dietary fibers absorb a lot of water. Drinking less water can actual trigger constipation by increasing stool dryness.
From where to buy
Good quality slippery elm inner bark powder would be light tan or light brown in color. The dark brown colored powder indicates a high concentration of outer bark. The outer bark doesn’t possess any health benefits, rather it contains crude fibers which can irritate the gut.
Always go for slippery elm bark powder or capsules of a reputed brand. You may check below Amazon links to buy it: –
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