What is Slippery Elm?
Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) is native specific portions of North America. It grows in eastern Canada, and eastern and central United States. Slippery Elm has been employed in traditional herbal medicine for over 100 years. The dried inner portion of the slippery elm bark has been used both by Native Americans and early settlers.
Slippery Elm is a nutritious food that was made into a type of pudding for those who had weak stomachs. In times of famine early American settlers used slippery elm as a survival food; it is said George Washington and his troops survived for several days on slippery elm gruel during the bitter winter at Valley Forge.
Slippery elm is soothing to irritated tissues and has been used in poultices for its ability to encourage healing in wounds.
Slippery Elm nourishes the adrenal glands, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory system. It helps the body expel excess mucus. Other conditions slippery elm is used for include: Abscess, Broken Bones, Burns and Scalds, Cholera, Colitis, Constipation -Children, Debility, Diaper rash, Diarrhea -In children, Diverticulitis, Dysentery, Hemorrhoids, Hiatal Hernia, Indigestion, Labor pain, Leprosy, Sore Throat,
Slippery Elm works well in combination with the herbs goldenseal and echinacea for colds and flu.
The inner bark of slippery elm contains mucilage (galactose, 3-methyl galactose, hexoses, pentoses, methylpentoses, polyuronides, rhamnose and galacturonic acid residues), complex carbohydrates, tannins, calcium oxalate, phytosterols, sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, salicylic acid, capric acid, caprylic acid, decanoic acid, and vitamin E. The mucilage in slippery elm bark is a demulcent and emollient. Tannins are typically used as astringents to treat weeping skin lesions, diarrhea or bleeding. Tannins also help tighten and constrict the tissue.
General dosage of dried inner bark in capsule form ranges between 4-10 g per day, in three or four devided doses. A tea can also be made by boiling teaspoonfuls of loose bark in one cup of water for ten to fifteen minutes, then cooled before drinking Three to four cups a day can be used. To make infusion: prepare by pouring 2 cups boiling water over 4 grams (roughly 2 tablespoons) of powdered bark and then steeping for 3 to 5 minutes. Drink three times per day. For external application, mix coarse powdered bark with boiling water to make a poultice.
Side effects, precautions, interactions
Slippery elm is considered a safe herb when taken at commonly recommended dosages. It is completely non-toxic, and has no known drug interaction. Slippery elm is thought to be safe for use during pregnancy and lactation. Some people develop an allergicrash when slippery elm is applied to the skin. There are no known side effects of slippery elm.
Thayers Slippery Elm
Dr. Christopher's Slippery Elm