Slippery Elm vs Inflammation
I'm inflamed at the side effects of ibuprofen, which ironically is the go-to drug of our generation for treating inflammation. We've all seen the warnings: “Never take it on an empty stomach... it can irritate the stomach lining and may cause bleeding.” Hence my irritation, which may also cause inflammation.
I have learnt through my time at the Happy Herb Shop in Newtown, that hope for help without harm is not lost in the world of plants. It turns out that SLIPPERY ELM is the tree I've been looking for all my life!
My inflammation is caused by an autoimmune disease: osteoarthritis – my bones and joints are brittle. It turns out that my body is in a slight state of confusion and is attacking itself. Inflammation isn't all bad. It is in fact our body's response to the stresses in our lives, coming from diet, lifestyle or environmental conditions. For example, when we get sick, we experience inflammation in the form of a fever as our body heats up, eradicating the effects of the invading virus. This kind of inflammation is very useful.
However, when we experience a constant inflammatory response, we become more susceptible to ageing and disease.
As you can well imagine, there are lots of causes of inflammation in our stress-prone modern lives, and many recent studies have linked the digestive system as the seat of much of the trouble. Which brings me back to ibuprofen and the bleeding stomach. Not good. Enough said.
Slippery Elm on the other hand is healing and soothing, and very good for your digestive system as a whole. Herbal source-books say “It has demulcent actions on all mucous membranes.” This means that it soothes the lining of the digestive system. Of interest to us is that it has the added benefit of reducing inflammation like a boss! I have been known to have a glass of 'slippery' and hike up mountains in Tasmania without any pains in my knees. A few days on the 'slippery' and I can dance with babes until sunrise.
It not only has a most soothing and healing action on all the parts it comes in contact with, but in addition possesses as much nutrition as is contained in a bowl of porridge. It is even recommended as a wholesome and sustaining food for infants and folks who can't keep anything else down, and forms the basis of many detoxifying herbal fibre blends.
Slippery Elm is a thick liquid that one can drink as a warm or cold beverage, optional additions of cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon flavourings are noted. It comes as a powder, from the inner section of bark from the Slippery Elm tree, so it kind of tastes like a woody, earthy drink. I won't lie, at first the texture is weird, but after a few sessions it becomes quite palatable. I've spoken to other people who also recall quickly growing to love the distinct taste of Slippery Elm. It's important to fill your glass with as much water as you'd like to consume the powder with, then add and stir through a heaped teaspoon of the Slippery Elm after. If you combine the ingredients the other way around you will never be able to mix them together without the aid of a blender. Then you wait. About 2 minutes.
Drink daily and dance.
Staff member at the Newtown Happy Herb Shop, NSW
Kyla’s tip (staff member in the HH warehouse):
I like to fill a jar 3/4 full of warm water, add a heaped tsp of slippery elm, then put the lid on tight, and shake well. Then let sit for a couple minutes. I love it too!! xx