Slippery Elm for Hemorrhoids (Piles)

Use of slippery elm for hemorrhoids is well acknowledged by alternative health experts across the world. Not only it relieves the symptoms of hemorrhoids, but, it lowers the risk of developing hemorrhoids in people with chronic constipation and diarrhea as well.

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Slippery elm is an herbal medicinal plant native to the USA and Canada. The inner bark of this tree is used for all the therapeutic purposes.

Other names- Ulmus fulva, Ulmus rubra, Red elm.

The inner bark of slippery elm tree is dried and grounded to convert it into powder form.

  • The finely powdered bark is used to make tea (internal consumption)
  • The coarsely powdered bark is used to prepare poultice and other external applications.

Benefits of slippery elm for hemorrhoids

A brief about Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, is a painful and somewhat embarrassing health issue. Most of the people suffering from hemorrhoids find it quite difficult to talk or discuss about it. Due to poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and stressful daily routine- more and more people are getting affected by this problem.

Read more: Mudra (Hand posture) for Body detox and digestion

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

  • Pain, swelling and itching in the anal region
  • Lump formation around the anus
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Blood in stools

Common causes of Hemorrhoids

  • Chronic constipation
  • Untreated digestive tract related problems like dysentery, diarrhea and colitis
  • Sedentary lifestyle with very little physical activity
  • Unhealthy diet with very low intake of dietary fibers and fluids
  • Continuously sitting on a hard surface for long periods. For example, sitting on the toilet for longer durations.
  • Constipation and expansion of uterus during pregnancy
  • Genetics (family history)

Slippery elm for Hemorrhoids- Internal consumption

Drinking slippery elm bark tea (bark powder dissolved in water) is the traditional and most preferred way of internal consumption. Let us discuss how it helps to treat hemorrhoids:

  • Reduces inflammation of the digestive tract

Slippery elm bark contains mucilage in abundance. Mucilage is a polysaccharide- a type of water soluble fiber which converts into a gummy, slick gel when it comes into contact with water. This gel imparts a soothing, healing effect on all the body parts that it comes in contact with.

When you drink slippery elm tea, this gel coats and soothes the whole digestive tract- mouth, throat, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and the anus to relieve irritation, inflammation and pain.

In other words, slippery elm bark acts as a protective bandage against inflammation, hyperacidity or any internal wound in the digestive tract.

A research study published in the health journal- Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Feb 2002 suggested the healing effect of slippery elm in inflammatory bowel diseases due to its potent antioxidant properties and high mucilage content. However, further studies are advised to confirm the antioxidant effects.

Read more: Turmeric in an anti-inflammatory herb

  • Relieves constipation

Slippery elm bark is a natural laxative. It contains a unique combination of water soluble and insoluble fibers- making it an ideal herb for constipation.

The digestive fiber content in slippery elm bark is almost comparable to that of psyllium husk.

how to use slippery elm for hemorrhoids

The digestive fibers contained in slippery elm absorb water and makes the stool soft, bulky for easier passage. Also, the gelatinous nature of mucilage soothes the intestinal linings to reduce friction, pain and inflammation for trouble free bowel movements.

A clinical study reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Oct 2010 showed that a slippery elm bark based herbal formulation is beneficial for constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The bowel movements improved and the IBS related symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain got relieved.

  • Promotes healthy digestion

Poor digestive health is the most predominant reason for hemorrhoids development. A sluggish, compromised digestive system becomes the foundation for constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and bowel inflammation.

Due to chronic constipation, accumulation of undigested food and other wastes in the large intestine (colon) causes swelling of veins (blood vessels) within the rectum and around the anus. This is known as hemorrhoids. Excessive strain during bowel movements may cause rupture of these swollen veins resulting in blood in stools.

A healthy digestive system would automatically provide long term relief from hemorrhoids symptoms naturally.

Read more: Yoga after meals to improve digestion

Slippery elm bark is a panacea for all the digestive tract related issues. Edgar Cayce, also known as the father of holistic medicine, recommended drinking slippery elm tea to soothe the intestinal inflammation and improve digestion.

Using slippery elm for hemorrhoids

Slippery elm for Hemorrhoids- External application

The external application of slippery elm bark, in the form of poultice and salve, is used to heal burns, boils, ulcers, wounds, splinters and skin inflammation.

For hemorrhoids, just take 1 teaspoon of slippery elm bark powder and mix it with enough water to make a thick paste. Now, apply this paste around the anus and leave it for 20-30 minutes. It would draw out toxins and pain to relieve itching and inflammation.

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Good to know

  • Nutritional value of Slippery elm

Slippery elm bark is an easy-to-digest food supplement with good nutritional value. It is considered as an ideal wholesome food for infants and people recovering from any illness.

slippery elm and hemorrhoids

  • Slippery elm is good for heart conditions and diabetes

The mucilage and other fibers contained in slippery elm bark helps to reduce cholesterol and maintain normal blood sugar levels.

How to consume

Slippery elm bark is available in different forms as below:

  • Powder- Make slippery elm tea by dissolving bark powder in water. In taste, it would be flavorless, tasteless- rather a bit chalky- something like oatmeal.

Slippery elm tea for hemorrhoids

 

  • Capsules– It is a more convenient option where you would hardly miss a dose. I have seen so many people just gave up on slippery elm because they couldn’t tolerate its taste. In that case, capsules are the way to go because it saves you from tasting the bark. But, it slows down the herb activity somehow as compared to the powder form. Also the per-dosage cost would be higher. The optimum dosage is around 2000 to 3000 mg per day- consume before the meals. Do remember to consume capsules with one full glass (8 ounces) of water because it has a tendency to absorb water. For more info, please check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Tea bags- It is convenient to use tea bags than the loose powder. But, the per-dosage cost would be high for obvious reasons.

Precautionary measures and side effects

  • In general, slippery elm bark is a safe herb for people of all ages. The USA Food and Drug Association (FDA) has approved slippery elm bark as a safe oral demulcent.
  • Slippery elm bark is an official drug listed in the United States Pharmacopeia (U.S.P). It means that it is tested and certified as a therapeutic drug for humans and animals both.
  • As it coats the digestive tract, it can slow down the absorption of any other medicine or herb that you take. Hence, maintain a gap of two hours between slippery elm bark and other medicines to reduce the possible interference.
  • In earlier times, one of the uses of slippery elm bark was to abort fetus. Hence, pregnant women should avoid it. Similarly, breastfeeding women should consult their doctors before consuming it.

From where to buy

The color of bark powder should be greyish or light tan in color. If it is reddish brown or dark in color, it means that the outer bark is mixed in it. The outer bark doesn’t have medicinal properties. Rather it contains crude fibers which can irritate your digestive tract.

Buy good quality, organic slippery elm from an herbal store near to you or check Amazon for some discounts:

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Slippery elm powder

If you are from USA, click here

If you are from UK, click here

If you are from India, click here

Slippery elm capsules

If you are from USA, click here

If you are from UK, click here

If you are from India, click here

Conclusion

Slippery elm bark is a complete digestive tonic with proven demulcent, laxative and antioxidant properties. To avail best benefits of slippery elm for hemorrhoids, consume its tea before the meals up to three times a day.

Hemorrhoids is basically a lifestyle disorder and positive changes in diet and lifestyle are mandatory for the long term relief.

  • Eat a healthy diet containing enough dietary fibers and fluids
  • Avoid processed, junk foods rich in refined white flour, added sugar and saturated fats
  • Consume whole foods, raw vegetables and fruits and green juices
  • Drink ample amount of water
  • Cut down on smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Don’t suppress the urge for bowel movement
  • Maintain a regular diet schedule. Neither skip meals nor overeat
  • Include regular physical workout in your daily routine
  • Adopt a stress free lifestyle with the help of yoga and meditation

 

References

https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/slippery-elm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20954962

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2036.2002.01157.x/pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulmus_rubra

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/slippery-elm

http://www.scopemed.org/fulltextpdf.php?mno=17581

http://www.promedics.ca/site/downloads/Slippery%20Elm.pdf

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