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Health Benefits of Slippery Elm

Slippery elm is a tree that is native to the eastern United States and Ontario Canada. It has reddish to dark brown bark that is 60-80 feet. It is also known as red elm or Indian elm. Its inner bark is used for therapeutic purposes.

Slippery elm’s tiny red inner bark is peeled from the twigs and branches and used as a remedy for many ailments like fever, wounds, and sore throat. On mixing its bark with water a sticky substance is generated that is known as mucilage. It has therapeutic and soothing properties. The inner bark of slippery elm is wrapped around the meat to keep it from going bad. Slippery Elm was used by Americans to heal gunshot wounds during American Revolution.

Health Benefits of Slippery Elm

There are numerous symptoms in which slippery elm is known to play a role because of its soothing property.

  1. Helps in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Slippery elm is demulcent and is capable of soothing the inner lining of the stomach and intestine and reducing irritation. Demulcents are also known as mucoprotective agents. Studies show that slippery elm can play a role in treating the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. One study found a mixture containing slippery elm to enhance bowel movements in patients with constipation-predominant inflammatory bowel disease.(1) Another study found the slippery elm to have antioxidant effects in Crohn’s disease.(2)

  2. Soothes Cough and Sore Throat

    Slippery elm contains mucilage, a sticky mixture of sugar that can be broken down in the human digestive tract. The mucilage coats the throat and is present in many lozenges. It has antitussive properties and is great for coughs and other upper respiratory ailments like bronchitis and asthma. However, there are no studies present till date to support this claim. A study examined the use of this bark in people with laryngitis or throat inflammation and voice problems. It showed soothing effects. Still, more research is needed.(3)

  3. Helps in Irritation of Urinary Tract

    Slippery elm is recommended to people with unexplained inflammation of the urinary tract. Its powder soothes the lining of the urinary tract and relieves the painful irritation symptoms. Slippery elm can act as a mild diuretic and increase the flow of urine and also help in the elimination of waste from the body.

  4. Relieves Heartburn and Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease

    Slippery elm can be beneficial in treating occasional heartburn or acid reflux. It is also used as an alternative remedy for gastro esophageal reflux disease, a disease that occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and irritates the lining. Slippery elm works by coating the esophagus with mucilage and preventing irritation and inflammation due to acid reflux.

How is Slippery Elm Used?

The inner bark of slippery elm can be used in dried and powdered form. It is available in the form of lozenges, tablets, fine powder, and coarse powder.

Tea can be prepared by pouring 2 cups of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of powder and steeping it for a few minutes. The poultice can be prepared by mixing the coarse powder with water and letting it cool. It can then be applied to the affected areas. It is also available in supplement form, but, make sure to speak with a doctor before trying any supplement.

How Safe is Slippery Elm?

Slippery elm is approved to be used as a demulcent for soothing the sore mucous membranes. Very few studies have been done to know about its safety and efficacy still none report its toxicity and side effects.

However, as it acts as a mucilage it may lower the absorption of medicine or decrease its effectiveness. Therefore, to be safe, slippery elm can be taken one hour after consuming any medicine.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 26, 2022

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