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HERBS FOR THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

SLIPPERY ELM, CHAMOMILE FLOWERS, PLANTAIN LEAVES, FENNEL & ANISE SEED

Called “the internal poultice, “ Slippery Elm bark (Ulmus rubra) reduces inflammation, especially coating the lining of the digestive track.  The mucilage in it soothes inflamed mucousal tissues.  It’s considered a survival food, especially for those who cannot keep food down.

“Uses: crohn’s disease, diarrhea, gastritis, peptic ulcer, ulcerated colitis.  Slippery elm is considered a wholesome nutritional food, similar in texture to oatmeal and can be prepared as a porridge.  Consumed three times per day, unsweetened “elm food” may be a good source of nutrients.  Because it is gentle and easily digested, it is well tolerated by people with gastritis and other forms of intestinal problems.  The following are recommended adult doses for slippery elm:

                Decoction: prepare by simmering for an hour or longer one part powdered bark to eight parts water.  This will make a mucilaginous drink that can be taken as often as needed, or added to juice or oatmeal.

                Infusion: prepare by pouring 2 cups boiling water over 4 grams (roughly 2 tablespoons) of powdered bark and then steeping for 3 to 5 minutes.  Drink three times per day.

                Capsules: two capsules (250 to 500 mg), three times daily.” (Univ. of MD Med Center- www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/slipper-elm-000274.html

“The bark as it appears in commerce for use in medicine consists only of the inner bark or bast and is sold in pieces 2 to 3 feet long and several inches wide, but only about 18 to 1/16 of an inch in thickness.  It is very tough and flexible, of a fine fibrous texture, finely strained longitudinally on both surfaces, the outer surface reddish-yellow, with patches of reddish brown, which are part of the outer bark  adhering to the inner bast.  It is recommended that ten-year-old bark should be used.” (www.botanical.combantanical/mgmheelamsli09.html)

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita or chamomilla) is an annual plant of the sunflower family Asteraceae.  Peter Rabbit’s mother gave him some chamomile tea after he’d eaten too many lettuces.  It’s safe enough for infants, but those who are allergic to the Aster family should avoid it.  The flowering tops gathered in the early stages of flowering, prepared with 1 tsp./cup water.  The flavor is like apples and can improve the taste of other herb teas, but if steeped to o long, will bring out a bitter flavor.  “Chamomile has been found to contain fairly strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory constituents and is particularly effective in treating stomach and intestinal cramps.  The tea reduces cramping and spastic pain in the bowels and also relieves excessive gas and bloating in the intestines.  It is often used to relieve irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and gastroenteritis (what we usually call stomach flu).  Chamomile is also an excellent calming agent, well suited for irritable babies and restless children.”  (www.health.howstuffworks.comchamomile-herbal-remedies.html)

Plantain (Plantago major) is mucilaginous and a source of allantoin, also found in comfrey, which regenerates cells.  Used as a tea for peptic ulcers, colitis, diahrrea, dystentery, irritable bowel syndrome, vomiting, and bleeding in the digestive system.  It’s edible, through potentially tough, containing Vitamin B1 and riboflavin.  The plant is a native of Eurasia and has naturalized all over America—called White Man’s footsteps, it grows where we walk, in compacted pathways. (for information go to www.altnature.com/gallery/plantain.htm)

Peppermint (Menthe x piperita) “In 2007, Italian investigators reported that 75% of the patients in their study who took peppermint oil capsules for four weeks had a major reduction in irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) symptoms, compared with just 38% of those who took placebo.[9]…but the oil is an irritant to the stomach in the quantity required and therefore needs wrapping for delayed release in the intestine.  Peppermint relaxes the gastro-esophageal sphincter, thus promoting belching.”(www.en.wikipedia.org/wikiPeppermint)

“Peppermint calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats.  As a result, food passes through the stomach more quickly.  It is important to know, however, if your symptoms of indigestion are related to a condition called gastoesophageal reflux disease or GERD, peppermint should not be used.” (www.umm.edualtmed/articles/peppermint-000269.html)

Fennel seed (roeniculum vulgare) is used in Italian sausages and on pizza, is considered a carminative which decreases and relieves digestive gas or bloating.

Anise seed (Pimpinella anisum) also has the same licorice type flavor but is used in high fat cookies.  Both herbs help digest fat.  Both herbs contain Anethole.  “It is distinctly sweet as well as having its flavoring properties and is measured to be 13 times sweater than sugar.  It is perceived as being pleasant to the taste even at higher concentrations”(www.en.wikipedia.org/wikiAnethole)

Prepared by:

Sue Lukens Creasy
Legacy Herbs
606 Mithcell Ave.
Mountain View, AR  72560
501-745-8822
legacy@mvtel.net

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