Dear Dr. Gott: About two years ago, you published a letter from a woman who said she had a problem for six years that was eventually helped by taking slippery elm bark. Her symptoms of debilitating, ongoing nausea and vomiting were almost exactly the same that our 43-year-old son had had for almost 10 months.
Both reported they were under constant care by their doctors, to no avail. Our son was told to take Prilosec, which he did, with no change whatsoever. When his GP finally referred him to a gastroenterologist, and after many, many tests in hospital and out, nothing could be diagnosed. He had just about given up. Under his doctor’s direction, he stopped the Prilosec. His job was in jeopardy. He was hospitalized overnight due to dehydration. Yet he was healthy in all other respects.
When I told my son about the woman’s letter, he finally tracked down a place where he could buy slippery elm bark. Almost immediately, he became well. He missed taking it for one day and felt sick. He went right back on it, is staying on it, and is fit as a fiddle! If the remedy is psychosomatic, so be it. For whatever reason, it is working.
Dear Reader: Slippery elm is also known as the red elm, sweet elm and others. This native North American tree has been utilized in a number of ways for countless years, including canoe making, as a food preservative, as a source of survival food during the Revolutionary War and as a medicine. The inner bark contains the medicinal portion, which is dried and powdered before use. It has a high mucilage content, which becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. It is reportedly good for coating and calming the entire digestive tract from mouth to intestines. Externally, it can be made into a poultice to treat burns, wounds, boils and ulcers by reducing the pain and inflammation.
The powdered bark is sold in several forms, including a coarse powder for external use and a fine powder for teas or extracts, lozenges, tablets and capsules.
There has been little scientific research done to confirm patient reports of successful use for a variety of gastrointestinal upsets and disorders. However, there have been no reports of serious side effects or drug interactions. Because of its ability to coat the digestive tract, it may reduce the absorption and effectiveness of other medications.
I am not sure what caused your son’s nausea and vomiting. Quite frankly, I am not sure whether the results are psychosomatic or not. I’m pleased your son was able to find a source of supply and that it has helped him lead a normal life.
Readers should speak with their primary-care physicians and/or a holistic caregiver before initiating this little-known treatment. Then be sure to read all package inserts if you both decide the product is right for you.
To provide related information on other alternative remedies, I am sending you a copy of my Health Reports “Compelling Home Remedies” and “More Compelling Home Remedies.” Other readers should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a check or money order for $2 for each report to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title(s) (researched through www.umm.edu).
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