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Slippery Elm

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Slippery Elm - Ulmus rubra

Slippery Elm soothes any irritated surface it comes in contact with. It contains a natural substance that coats and protects, making it an effective solution for the mucus membranes of the stomach, bowel, colon, throat, and bronchial areas.

Slippery Elm is a valuable tree that has many traditional uses. Sometimes it is dried and ground into a powder beforehand, then made into a tea. Both Slippery Elm gruel and tea are said to soothe the digestive tract. According to Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide, "Although Slippery Elm has not been scientifically investigated, the FDA has approved it as a safe demulcent substance."

Slippery elm poultices are a mainstay of herbal medicine for treating itchy, inflamed, or irritated skin as well as cuts, scrapes, scratches, and minor burns.

The mucilage in slipper elm bark also relieves Inflammation and irritation in the throat and urinary tract when the herb is taken as a tea or infusion. Slippery elm also helps neutralize excess stomach acid. Scientists believe that the mucilages activate a reflex that causes the stomach to secrete more of its own protective mucus. Slippery elm is used in natural medicine to treat chronic diarrhea, esophagitis, gastritis, peptic and duodenal ulcers, and ulcerative colitis.

The Slippery Elm is a deciduous tree which can grow to 20 m in height with a 50 cm d.b.h.. The tree has a different branching pattern than American Elm, and its heartwood is reddish-brown, giving the tree its alternative common name 'Red Elm'. The leaves are 10–18 cm long and have a rough texture, coarsely double-serrate margin and an oblique base. The perfect wind-pollinated apetalous flowers are produced before the leaves in early spring, usually in clusters of 10–20. The fruit is an oval winged samara 20 mm long and containing a single, central seed. Slippery Elm may be distinguished from American Elm by the hairiness of the buds and twigs (both smooth on the American Elm) and by its very short-stalked flowers.

Since slippery elm is a food product, there is no upper limit on dosage, although about 2 tablespoons (10 grams) of the herb is the minimum amount that produces noticeable effects.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.