Slippery elm is commonly known as red elm or Indian elm, which is a tree that is dark brown or reddish-brown. It consists of a paste that becomes a slick gel when it is mixed with water. This paste offers all the slippery elm benefits. It heals and also prevents the occurrence of many diseases.
A study published in 2002 in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics stated that the antioxidant properties in vitro have the therapeutic capacity for patients suffering from IBS. It is available as slippery elm supplements and many forms and can be found in local health or food store or the natural market.
Five gms of slippery elm bark powder provides the following nutrients.
The Slippery Elm Health Benefits
1. Slippery elm for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Slippery elm has anti-inflammatory properties. It is very effective in treating inflammatory body diseases that help to soothe the lining of intestines and stomachs. It is also referred to as demulcent known as neuroprotective agents(1). Using slippery bark reduces symptoms of irritable bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel disease.
Studies have shown the benefits of slippery elm for constipation. A clinical study revealed that a mixture of slippery elm intensifies bowel movements in patients suffering from constipation. The antioxidants also affected people suffering from Crohn’s disease.
2. Helps to Soothe a Sore Throat
Slippery elm benefits our body by reducing the symptoms of the cold and painful throat. It contains mucilage that is hard for the body to break down by the digestive tract. This paste helps to coat the throat and is a prevalent ingredient found in cough lozenges.
It works as an antitussive, which means it is useful for coughs and other respiratory ailments like asthma or bronchitis.
3. Treats for Cystitis
Slippery elm benefits those suffering from interstitial cystitis and unexplained inflammation of the urinary tract. Swelling in the urinary tract can be very painful and disrupt your regular life.
Slippery elm bark benefits by soothing the insides of the intestinal tract. It also has mild diuretic properties that help in the production of more urine output and allows the elimination of waste from the body.
4. Cures GERD
Slippery elm benefits health by treating heartburn in some people, which is also known as acid reflux. It is also known to be a herbal remedy that is useful to treat GERD(2). It is a chronic disease where the acid from the stomach flows back to the esophagus, irritating the lining.
Slippery elm properties help to coat the throat and prevent the inflammation and irritation caused by the acid flowing into the esophagus. Slippery for acid reflex is vouched by a lot of holistic practitioners who claim that it works wonders.
5. Relieves Constipation
It has a high mucilage content that is a natural remedy to treat constipation. Consuming slippery elm stimulates the nerve endings of the gastrointestinal tract, and this is why it is effective in treating constipation. As it has demulcent properties, it treats hemorrhoids too.
6. Relieves Symptoms of Asthma
Slippery elm benefits in an antitussive, implying it treats a respiratory infection like bronchitis and asthma. The anti-inflammatory nature thins the mucus in the airways prevents bronchial spasms that are linked to asthma attacks. It relieves coughs and congestion in the chest.
7. Cures Dermatitis
Slippery elm is a herbal and natural remedy to treat dermatitis. Dermatitis is a condition of the skin that causes redness and a burning sensation in the body. The mucilage content in slippery elm helps to moisturize it and promotes healing.
How to Use Slippery Elm
The Slippery Elm is available in the form of
- Coarse powder for making a poultice
- Fine powder
You can try any of the above-mentioned ways to consume slippery elm. However, if you experience heartburn, visit a doctor first.
To Use Slippery Elm
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water with 2 tablespoons of the powder and steep for 1-2 minutes.
- To make a poultice (for applying to the skin), mix the coarse powder with boiling water and let cool. Apply the poultice to the affected area.
- As a supplement, read product labels and to consult with your doctor before trying a supplement.
Precautions and Side Effects
They are safe and have no toxic reports so far. However,
- Always take slippery elm an hour before taking medication. Slippery elm is often approved as an over-the-counter demulcent to soothe sore throats and membranes that are blocked with mucus. But as Slippery elm works as a paste, it decreases the capacity of absorption of medicines and reduces its effectiveness.
- Slippery elm can be moderately used through supplements or in a natural form. Slippery elm tea benefits in treating all digestive problems like heartburn, GERD, IBS, and indigestion. If you feel that you want to nourish the digestive system, it is recommended you consume slippery elm in tea form. It will also treat respiratory problems like tonsillitis, sore throat, laryngitis. It also releases the mucus coating in the membranes.
[ Read: Benefits of Pennyroyal ]
1. Is it safe to consume slippery elm every day?
The doctor must prescribe supplements. But if you consume slippery bark powder, the dosage is 1 tbsp three times a day. You can mix with tea or water to drink.
2. Is slippery elm dangerous?
Do not start to consume supplements without approval from your doctor. It can interfere with the working of other drugs. It is not known to have any side effects, but if you have a kidney disorder, you might want to run it through your doctor.