When we think of fibre, we don’t often think of consuming the ground-up bark of a tree! We often think about delicious and crunchy vegetables and forget about the abundance of other fibres we have at our disposal.
Slippery elm has been used since the 19th century and was a popular herb used by Native Americans to heal wounds, draw out toxins as well as aid with digestion. This large tree is mostly located throughout North America and Canada.
Slippery elm contains soluble fibre and a gooey substance known as mucilage. This mucilaginous presence is what makes slippery elm so amazing at soothing the whole digestive system and as a result, aiding with the relief of reflux, indigestion, bloating and possibly the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. It provides a nourishing and soothing lining to the walls of the digestive tract.
It is also a prebiotic, meaning it acts as food for the large array of beneficial bacteria that is already present in the intestines. Through a fermentation process, the fibre is broken down into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and it is these SCFAs that provide the fuel for the cells and bacteria in the intestines.
When diarrhoea or constipation is experienced, slippery elm is fantastic at helping both issues. With constipation, it helps to bulk and soften the stool and when diarrhoea is present, the slippery elm swells to produce more of a formed stool.
Slippery elm is most often consumed in its powdered form and this is quite often the most effective and therapeutic way to take it.
Slippery Elm is available in good pharmacies and health food stores.