Home Remedies - Slippery Elm - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

This incredible herb is a member of the Elm (Ulmus) family. Native to Canada and the US, it can be found growing in the Appalachian Mountains. The inner bark is collected from trees which are at least 10 years old, and is mainly powdered for therapeutic use.

stock slipperyelm powder SMLL

It not only has a most soothing and healing action on all the parts it comes in contact with, but in addition possesses as much nutrition as is contained in oatmeal, and when made into gruel forms a wholesome and sustaining food for infants and invalids. Slippery Elm Food is generally made by mixing a teaspoonful of the powder into a thin and perfectly smooth paste with cold water and then pouring on a pint of boiling water, steadily stirring meanwhile. It can, if desired, be flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg or lemon rind.

This makes an excellent drink in cases of irritation of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, and taken at night will induce sleep.

Another mode of preparation is to beat up an egg with a teaspoonful of the powdered bark, pouring boiling milk over it and sweetening it.

A Slippery Elm compound excellent for coughs is made as follows: Cut obliquely one or more ounces of bark into pieces about the thickness of a match; add a pinch of Cayenne flavour with a slice of lemon and sweeten, infusing the whole in a pint of boiling water and letting it stand for 25 minutes. Take this frequently in small doses: for a consumptive patient, about a pint a day is recommended. It is considered one of the best remedies that can be given as it combines both demulcent and stimulating properties. Being mucilaginous, it rolls up the mucous material so troublesome to the patient and passes it down through the intestines.

It not only soothes and heals all that it comes into contact with, but is highly nutritious. Slippery Elm is a wholesome food for the weak and convalescent, from infants to the elderly.

Listed below are some of the most common uses for Slippery Elm.

Externally, slippery elm;

  • Makes a wonderful poultice, applied locally, for drawing out toxins, especially those associated with boils, spots or abscesses
  • Can assist the removal of splinters.
  • Applied to wounds, burns and inflammation of any kind, Slippery Elm will help to soothe
  • Heals and reduces swelling and pain

Internally, Slippery Elm can be used to help soothe many different types of digestive complaints:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Colitis and diverticulitis
  • Inflammation of the gut or colic
  • Can give instant relief to acid indigestion or 'reflux'
  • Ulcers anywhere in the gut (stomach & intestines)
  • Diarrhoea - especially if mixed with a banana and powdered Marshmallow
  • As a nutritive, Slippery Elm is a great food for debilitated states, and as a baby food.
  • It can also be useful for urinary infections


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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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