Slippery Elm is a species of elm tree that grows mostly in the Appalachian Mountains and the damp forests of eastern North America and southeastern Canada. Slippery Elm has been used as an herbal remedy in North America for hundreds of years. It is extremely versatile, providing relief from a number of ailments, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and sore throats. Slippery Elm is also known as Ulmus fulma, Red Elm, Sweet Elm, Moose Elm, Indian Elm, Gray Elm, and Soft Elm.
Slippery Elm Uses
Native Americans used Slippery Elm to create balms or salves to heal wounds, burns, ulcers, psoriasis and other skin conditions. They also used it orally to soothe sore throats, relieve coughs, and help with diarrhea and stomach issues. Slippery Elm was used during the American Revolution to help treat and soothe the wounds of soldiers. The tree is mentioned quite a bit in older literature and today it is widely discussed in alternative medicine writings and reports. Currently, there is little scientific research regarding Slippery Elm
The inner bark of the Slippery Elm contains a substance called mucilage, which is a polysaccharide that becomes a gel when mixed with water. The mucilage is a bit slippery and slimy, hence the name “Slippery Elm”. It is dried, ground, powdered, and used for medicinal purposes.
The mucilage is rich in nutrients, including beneficial antioxidants that help relieve inflammation. It does a good job of soothing and coating the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines, causing much relief from things like Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease (GERT), Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, diverticulitis, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Slippery Elm is reportedly also beneficial to those with bronchitis as it soothes and moistens mucus membranes of the nose, eases sore throat and cough, which are symptoms of bronchitis.
Since many experts think it causes extra mucus production in the gastrointestinal tract, Slippery Elm may protect the tract from ulcers due to excess acid.
How to Take
Slippery Elm is available in the form of tablets, capsules, and lozenges. Here are some of
- Use finely powdered inner bark for soothing teas and a more coarse-ground bark for poultices.
- Combine with the bark of Wild Cherry, the leaves of a Sweet Gum, and mullein to make a very effective cough syrup.
- Mix with water and consume to help with indigestion and heartburn.
- Blend some Slippery Elm with glycerin and apply to cuts, burns, other skin problems, or if you just want to keep your hands feeling soft and supple.