Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)

Native American tribes discovered that by scraping away the rough outer bark of the majestic slippery elm tree (Ulmus rubra), they could uncover a remarkable healing substance in the inner bark. They beat the bark into a powder and added water to create a “slippery” concoction ideal for soothing mucus membranes and healing scrapes.

Long recognized by health authorities in the United States as an effective medicine, slippery elm bark presently has the approval of the Food and Drug Administration as a nonprescription demulcent (soothing agent) that can be taken internally.

The popularity of slippery elm bark has endured, no doubt, because it works so well for coating and soothing irritated or inflamed mucous membranes. This is the work of an ingredient in the inner bark called mucilage, a gummy, gel-like substance that when ingested forms a protective layer along the throat, digestive tract, and other areas. Astringent compounds in the herb called tannins help tighten and constrict tissue.

There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with slippery elm. If an allergic rash develops when slippery elm is applied to the skin, discontinue its use in all forms.

 


Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) can help with the following

Autoimmune  

Ulcerative Colitis

Slippery elm’s soothing mucilage effect has been used for disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. It is part of the herbal combination called “Robert’s Formula”, which is widely prized by naturopathic physicians for such intestinal inflammations as gastritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. For digestive disorders, taking 500-1,000mg of powder tid is often recommended. It may be used in lozenge form as well.



Digestion  

Gastritis

Slippery elm’s soothing mucilage effect has been used for disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. It is part of the herbal combination called “Robert’s Formula”, which is widely prized by naturopathic physicians for such intestinal inflammations as gastritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. For digestive disorders, taking 500-1,000mg of powder tid is often recommended. It may be used in lozenge form as well.



Infections  

Pharyngitis

For coating and soothing irritated or inflamed mucous membranes add 1 tablespoon of dried slippery elm per cup of hot water. Alternatively, mix 1 tablespoon of liquid extract in 8 ounces of hot water and drink up to 3 cups daily. Slippery elm lozenges are also available.



Key

Likely to help

Glossary

Demulcent

An agent which soothes and relieves irritation, especially of the mucous membranes.

Mucous Membranes

The membranes, such as the mouse, nose, anus, and vagina, that line the cavities and canals of the body which communicate with the air.

Mucilage

Preparation consisting of a solution in water of the viscous principles of plants; used as a soothing application to mucous membranes.

Astringent

Agent causing contraction, especially after topical application.

Herbs

Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.

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