Herb of the Month - Slippery Elm!

Author: Lia Pellizzeri   Date Posted:3 March 2017 

Slippery Elm, or Ulmus rubra, a popular remedy traditionally used by Native American tribes as an emollient and vulnerary. The inner-bark of the Slippery Elm tree is used therapeutically and is classified as a nutritive demulcent, due to its high level of mucilage, containing calcium, thiamine, zinc, magnesium and potassium.

Slippery Elm is commonly used today in Western herbal medicine to help alleviate symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract.

Why it’s great for gastrointestinal conditions such as:

Reflux & Indigestion:        

The properties of this herb make it suitable for relieving symptoms associated with many gastrointestinal complaints such as reflux, constipation and diarrhoea. Heartburn can be a very common occurrence arising from anything between poor stomach acid production to poor digestion. So supplementing with the dried inner bark mixed into liquid can provide relief by neutralizing stomach acidity and soothing the inflamed area, creating a physical barrier protecting the delicate oesophageal wall without impairing acid production.

Constipation & Diarrhoea:

Constipation and diarrhoea can also benefit from Slippery elm, as it has the ability to hydrate and thus add bulk to stools when taken with water - making for easier bowel movements. But can also exert a binding action to stools dependant on the dosage due to the herbs tannin content and therefore provide relief to diarrhoea sufferers.

Why Is Mucilage So Beneficial?

Not many herbs actually contain high levels of mucilage, making Slippery elm particularly unique. Its water-loving structure enables it to swell and develop a gel-like consistency, and it is this property that soothes irritated mucous membranes whilst aiding wound-healing by increasing the nutrition of the environment.

Slippery Elm

Soothing & Wound Healing both Topically and Internally:

Although mucilage is primarily responsible for one major action, it is applicable to a variety of instances where there is inflamed tissue. This is why it is not only used internally for digestive complaints, but can be incorporated into lozenges to soothe sore throats and irritated bronchial tubes, and can furthermore be used topically to calm mild inflammatory skin conditions and closed wounds.

How to use Slippery Elm:

It is important to know how to use Slippery elm, as depending on its therapeutic use the dose and way it is prepared may require variation. For instance the powder may be used to make a poultice, pills contains the herb in tablet form to make taking it simple and easy but is generally more beneficial for conditions lower down in the bowel as this is where it will be most effective.

Please consult a Natural Health Practitioner if you should have any queries on the best dose and preparation for you! 

Written by Lia Pellizzeri
Emily Seddon

Lia is a qualified Naturopath who believes in the power of nature to heal many of today’s acute and chronic conditions. She’s not only passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, but about educating people on nutrition and the amazing benefits of herbs and supplements in addressing symptoms and their underlying issues.

Lia loves to cook, bake and read… when she isn’t busy telling people to enjoy their egg yolks and other healthy fats, she can most likely be found on the lounge with a latte and a tattered copy of Lord of the Rings.


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