Slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra) is a type of herb that grows predominantly across the United States and Canada. It usually grows to a height of around 40 to 60 feet (12 to 19 meters). Slippery Elm’s heartwood is reddish in color; thus, the term ‘rubra’ (‘red’ in Latin). The inner bark of slippery elm tree is mucilaginous, thus the name.
Aside from its medicinal uses, the fibrous inner bark of the slippery elm tree can also be used to make ropes, fabric and mats. The collection of slippery elm bark occurs mainly during spring.
Its alternative names include Indian Elm, Soft Elm, Red Elm or Moose Elm.
- 1 Who would benefit from it?
- 2 Health Benefits of Slippery Elm Bark
- 3 Slippery Elm Bark Side Effects
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Who would benefit from it?
The soothing and detoxifying action of slippery elm bark makes it beneficial for people who have problems in their digestive organs. This herbal medicine alleviates digestive system issues like acid reflux (GERD), diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, heartburn, stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and related mucus membrane diseases.
Not enough scientific evidence exists to know whether it’s effective as a treatment for COPD or Chron’s Disease or its proper use in weight loss.
Health Benefits of Slippery Elm Bark
- It is used for overall internal detoxification.
- It is often used to relieve sore throat and cough. You can actually find throat lozenges containing slippery elm bark.
- Because it is naturally mucilaginous, slippery elm bark helps soothe, clear and detoxify the body’s mucus membranes.
- Although it’s considered medicinal, it is also possible to add it to oatmeal and porridge for adults and infants.
- Aside from being an emollient, it is also an expectorant. Because of this, it is useful for deworming. It is so potent that it was used as an herbal abortifacient before being banned in some countries.
- It soothes the urinary tract and bladder.
- It promotes female reproductive health.
- Applied topically, it helps in healing wounds and preventing inflammation.
- Anti-parasitic and effective in expelling tapeworms
Although its leaves are made into tea, the main benefit of slippery elm comes from its bark, specifically the inner part. The odor of the bark slightly resembles the scent of fenugreek seeds. The benefits of slippery elm bark can be attributed to its mucilage, which is rich in nutrients and vitamins such as beta-sitosterol, beta-carotene campestrol, tannin, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C and zinc.
It forms a protective and nutritive layer on any surface it comes in contact with. It then exhibits anti-inflammatory, astringent, demulcent and emollient activities. Slippery elm bark is one of the easiest foods to digest, making it suitable for infants and recovering patients. It’s even effective as an all-natural weight loss powder supplement.
Should you consider taking It?
Overall, the benefits offered by slippery elm bark can help deal with the array of health problems suffered by millions of people. As an herbal medicine, it is certainly worth trying, especially for sore throat benefits. You can find it in extract powder of the dried inner bark, tea, tablets, lozenges and capsules.
Slippery Elm Bark Side Effects
The bark is very dangerous for pregnant women and should be completely avoided. While there’s no scientific evidence to back it up, old wives tales claim that it will cause an abortion when taken internally. Breastfeeding women should likewise avoid its use. Some users report irritation or allergic reaction when it comes in contact with the skin.
Check back soon as we’ll be posting reviews and testimonials of irish moss cough lollies. We’ll also update this article with emerging evidence about slippery elm bark as a treatment for COPD and potential for use in weight loss.