Botanical: Ulmus fulva (also known as Ulmus rubra)
Family: Ulmaceae (elm)
Other common names: Indian Elm, Red Elm, Winged Elm, Rock Elm, Moose Elm, Sweet Elm,
Slippery Elm Bark is soothing! As its name implies, this lubricating and nutritious herb coats irritated areas, allowing the body to heal itself. Its high level of mucilage helps to soothe a sore throat, ease indigestion and lubricate the bowel, which has made Slippery Elm Bark useful for easing Crohn's disease, colitis and irritable bowel disease (IBS).
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Slippery Elm is a large, deciduous tree that is native to North America and grows in the moist, well-drained (but not waterlogged) woods of the eastern half of Canada and the United States. The tree may reach a height of sixty feet and may now also be found planted along streets, as well as in the forests throughout North America. Native American Indians were the first to discover the healing powers of the Slippery Elm and found that when the tree's inner bark comes in contact with water, the gummy substance (or mucilage) swells and produces a soothing, softening ointment. Native Americans applied it to heal wounds, and when it dried, it became a natural bandage, and they also wrapped Slippery Elm Bark around meat to prevent spoilage. The English settlers soon noticed its widespread use by Native Americans and included it into their medicinal applications for wounds, cold sores and boils. The Colonists also used the bark to treat coughs, sore throats and urinary tract infections. Slippery Elm Bark was used during the American Revolution to treat gunshot wounds and in Valley Forge as a survival food. Mixed with water, Slippery Elm Bark makes a highly nutritious and soothing gruel for children and for sick people of any age, and the herb was once listed in the United States Pharmacopœia. Slippery Elm bark has a soothing and healing effect on any part of the body with which it comes into contact. The bark's exceptionally rich mucilage content is composed of easily digested, nontoxic, complex carbohydrates, and Slippery Elm Bark also contains alpha- and beta-sitosterol, campestrol, tannin, protein, phytosterol, polysaccharide, salicylic acid, selenium, silicon, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, chromium, D-galactose, fat, fiber, fructose, glucose, beta-carotene and vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3 and C.
The principal use of Slippery Elm Bark is to soothe sore throats. The high level of mucilage makes it extremely soothing for the inflamed mucous membranes of the throat and esophagus. Herbalists use it in cough medicines for scratchy, raw, sore throats and mouth irritations, and it is also an effective ingredient in throat lozenges.
Slippery Elm Bark helps to reduce inflammation of the intestinal tract. It soothes the inflamed mucous membranes of the bowel and neutralizes excess acids in the intestines, which make it beneficial for Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome. It has also been used to ease both constipation and chronic diarrhea.
One of Slippery Elm Bark's oldest uses has been as a digestive tonic. Again, its high mucilage content helps soothe inflamed mucous membranes of the stomach and neutralize excess stomach acids, making it an excellent remedy for the entire digestive system. It is said to soothe stomach irritation and the sore feeling that often follows vomiting. Old time herbalists use it as a remedy for ulcers and gastritis.
Slippery Elm Bark generally reduces inflammation and is useful for soothing the mucous membranes of the urinary tract and easing the inflammation of aching joints.
Midwives used Slippery Elm Bark as a mucilaginous herb to lubricate and ease childbirth.
Slippery Elm Bark is a highly nutritious food product. It is good for babies as a nutritive and also benefits those babies who are unable to digest milk products. Because it is so soothing and easily digested, it is one of the few foods that will stay in a cancerous or ulcerated stomach when nothing else will and is also beneficial for invalids and those recovering from illness or who have wasting diseases. In times of famine or food shortage, a gruel made from Slippery Elm bark was highly valued for its nutritive qualities.
Slippery Elm Bark works with the body to draw out impurities and toxins and has been a longtime treatment for cuts, bruises, wounds, burns and also to relieve inflamed or itchy skin.
People with known allergies to elm bark should avoid Slippery Elm Bark Herbal Supplement. Other medications should be taken at a different time, because the herb's high mucilage content may interfere with their absorption.