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39325Re: slippery elm bark - advice needed please

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  • C.R.
    May 2, 2010
      hi Ruth,

      I've been giving slippery elm bark powder to my guys, past and present, for the past 20 years. It's very safe, but like any drug, there are some cautions.

      What slippery elm does is it coats the digestive tract with a mucilagenous "film" that helps protect the membranes from irritation, including the acids that build up from the uremia. Both my angels Sweetie and Snowball had CRF and IBD which always made them nauseated, and I used slippery elm on Sweetie every day for the 3 years and 10 months of her disease, and my Snowball also daily for the last two years of her life.

      The main "caution" is that you should not give it at the same time as any other medications or supplements, because of it's coating action, it can inhibit the absorption of other things. It's best given on an empty stomach, two hours away from other things. We used to give it to Snowball mid-morning and again late at night, around 11pm. The late night is a good time to dose, to get them through the night, since it seems that many CRF kitties get the worst acid in the tummy in the early morning hours between 2am and 6am. At least that's how it's been with out guys.

      If you use slippery elm, use the powder, not any kind of tincture. The tinctures most always have alcohol in them, and cats shouldn't have the alcohol, and from my experience, they don't really work as well as the powder.

      You can put the powder in a little bit of food, just a dab, and try to get Rigsby to eat that, but since he's not eating much right now, probably the better way is to make a slurry or syrup and syringe it into him.

      To make a slurry, depending on the dose your giving (1/8 to 1/4 tsp), mix the SEB with just enough water to be able to syringe it, but keep in mind that it expands when you add water and gets very thick, so you may end up with quite a bit to syringe into them.

      There are two methods to make a syrup. One is the cooked method or decoction, the other is to make it like a "tea" or infusion. The main difference in the two methods is that the decoction/boiled method will give you a more potent syrup.

      To make a decoction (boiling method), take 1 to 1 1/2 tsp slippery elm to 1 cup of spring or distilled water. Do not use tap water to make herbal remedies. Bring it to a boil and then turn down and simmer, stirring constantly, till it becomes slightly thickened, then simmer it for about another 5 minutes. It'll be the consistency of watery egg whites. It will thicken a bit more when it's cooled.

      To make it with the infusion ("tea" method), add 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of SEB to 1 cup of already boiled water and mix it well (you might get some globby chunks but keep stirring till they melt).

      For both methods, let it cool completely then store in a glass jar or bottle in the refrigerator. It will keep for about a week, then make a new batch. You can also freeze the syrup in an ice cup tray, but put the tray inside a freezer ziplock bag so the SEB doesn't get freezer burn.

      If you make the syrup, you can mix that with food or syringe that. It's not as thick as the slurry, not as potent either.

      I would give Snowball 1 teaspoon of the syrup 2 times a day, 12 hours apart. You can give it up to 3 times a day if you think he's needing it. Just remember to give it NOT with other things.

      Now, this is just my preference, but I think it's always best to use organic herbs, especially if you're going to cook them, because making a tea or decoction from herbs brings out the medicinal constituents of the herb, but it'll also bring out any pesticides in
      the herbs too. I just always use organic herbs on my guys. If you can't find organic, then try to get slippery elm that doesn't have any other added ingredients. Some of the slippery elm that comes in capsule form (you can empty out the capsules to make the syrups or slurry for dosing), they have other added ingredients. Not a good idea, because some of those things may have adverse affects on the kitty. I always buy the loose herbs. If you can't find them at your health food store, you can buy loose herbs online. There are tons of places that sell it, but I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs.

      Slippery elm is a very nutritious food too. It does have nutrients like calcium and phosphorus in it, but in all the years I've given it to my guys, I've never seen it cause their kidney values to elevate, nor their calcium or phosphorus levels, and I was giving it to them every day.

      Here is some more information about slippery elm.http://longwoodherbal.org/slipperyelm/slipperyelm.pdf

      There are tons of sites with info, but these are the ones I like to give to people just starting out with herbs.

      It's also used to treat diarrhea and constipation, depending on the dose and how often you give it. For tummy troubles and diarrhea, smaller doses are best. For constipation, the more you give, the looser the stools may become, so you need to be careful and work up to a dose that gets things moving without causing the opposite reaction.

      So the doses I've used were 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of the straight powder in a little dab of food or made into a slurry given twice a day, or 1 teaspoon of the syrup given up to 3 times a day. These are just how I've done it. My holistic vet and nutritionist gave me those dosages, so I feel pretty safe using those for my guys. There aren't really any set dosages for SEB, because every kitty's system is
      different and how they take it will be different. The best thing to do is start out with a lower dose and work up if you need to. It's always best to give as little as needed to take care of the issue, so you have somewhere to go when things get worse, and unfortunately, they do with CRF kitties.

      I know this is a lot of info to digest, but I wanted to be as thorough as I could. I think slippery elm can be a great help.

      If the slippery elm doesn't help for Rigsby, I would definitely talk to your vet on Monday about getting some anti-nausea medication. When Snowball would get worse, we started her on Ondansetron (Zofran), and we used the injectable kind. It really helped a lot. We also gave her an appetite stimulant, called Cyproheptadine ( http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/cyproheptadine-periactin/page1.aspx ). We gave her just the tiniest of doses of that, and that helped rev up her appetite to get her eating. The normal dose is 1/4 tablet twice a day, but we never gave her that. We gave her 1/8 tablet once a day and that worked. Chyproheptadine can cause elevated heart rate, so we wanted to be very cautious with it with her.

      I hope this helps.

      Carol and Angel Snowball *5/10/91 to 1/1/10*
      and the gang
      Snowball in the planter box.

      --- In feline-heart@yahoogroups.com, "jruthaitken" <jruthaitken@...> wrote:
      > hello everyone,
      > my cat Rigsby is rapidly losing weight, very likely due to increased uremia. He is refusing to eat renal foods and I am having to give him all kinds of things just to get him to eat at all.
      > my vet prescribed sucralfate, but the pharmacist told me this is to be used with extreme caution in patients with renal disease. He suggested I stop. I then talked to a veterinary specialist who manages Rigsby's various conditions. she suggested I get famotidine for him. the pharmacist suggested we did not use Pepcid two (which was had he had in the shop) as this contains calcium and other ingredients that could harm kidneys. He said he could order famotidine tablets and this would be best. I can't ask any vets until tuesday as it is a bank holiday.
      > so I then found some slippery elm bark powder from a health food shop -I wonder if this is the safest thing for him.
      > currently he is taking 1.25g fortekor (benazipril); quarter Plavis and 1.5 units of insulin (twice daily).
      > what is the dosage I should give of slippery elm bark?
      > has anyone given this whilst also giving traditional medicines?
      > are there any interactions with the medicines I am giving?
      > I know if I ask either of the vets I use that they will be against any form of herbal treatment.....so I am asking you all instead!
      > I look forward to your advice
      > With best wishes
      > Ruth
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