Monday, March 29, 2010

Self-Reliant Health - Slippery Elm

Slippery Elm is one of my favorite herbs. It is a tree, native to North America, and the inner bark is the part used. It's an amazing, highly nutritious herb with a mild-flavor. To me it's a slightly nutty taste. In The How To Herb Book, it's described as hinting of "burnt caramel candy". In the case of famine or food shortage, it would be an excellent herb to have stored or to forage for eating.

I like to buy it in powdered form so I can put a scoop or two in my fruit or protein shakes. It swells a little and gets thicker as it sits - in your glass or your stomach! - so you need to have plenty of water with it. My favorite Slippery Elm shakes are with a banana, soy milk (or water or milk), maybe a shot of vanilla, and a little Cinnamon sprinkled on top.

In our family, we've mainly used it for digestive and respiratory ailments. It is very healing and soothing for upset stomach, bowel problems, coughs, congestion, sore throat and tonsils. Here's a good over-view from my book called The Woman's Book of Healing Herbs, by Sari Harrar and Sara Altshul O'Donnell:

"History and Traditional Uses - Before Dutch elm disease destroyed many of the continent's mature trees, Native Americans relied on the sweet-tasting inner bark to ease childbirth, soothe labor pains, and relieve many other ailments, from diarrhea to dysentery, rheumatism to sore eyes, coughs to sore throats, and wounds to ulcers."

"Rich in slick mucilage, slippery elm was widely used at the turn of the century to coat and soothe irritated mucous membranes in the digestive system, mouth, throat, lungs, uterus, kidneys, and bladder. It also cooled hemorrhoids."

"Healing Potential - Today, proponents say that the mucilage in slippery elm bark is still an excellent remedy for bladder infections, diarrhea, peptic ulcers, coughs, colitis, acid stomach, and many more irritations and inflammations of the reproductive, digestive, and respiratory systems as well as of the urinary tract. Externally, homemade slippery elm paste or gel may help heal wounds, soothe inflamed skin, repair a torn perineum after childbirth, and restore vaginal lubrication at menopause."

My How To Herb Book explains that it basically coats, relaxes and heals all inflamed tissues, inside or out. It is very gentle and safe and therefor an excellent herb for babies with diarrhea or digestive problems. It normalizes stools and soothes, coats and heals the entire intestinal tract lining. It's great for ulcers and hiatal hernias. It's also a good thyroid support.

2 case studies were sited. The first was where hemorrhoid pain and bleeding was stopped within minutes by using a small retention enema. That's where you only use about 1 cup of warm mixture and it is entirely absorbed in the colon.

The second was used with baby lambs. When lambs are born, they have a tendency to get diarrhea (scours). Sometimes my baby goats did also. Many times the lambs die. This person fed her lambs slippery elm mixture and the diarrhea was quickly corrected and the lambs were fine.

Nature is full of tasty wonders. When we heal ourselves from the Lord's pharmacy, we are nourished, fed and strengthened at the same time. So I hope you'll consider adding some slippery elm to your storage!


  1. I heard of slippery elm a lot when I was a kid but have not heard of it until today and I read your blog.

    We were in Glacier Park in 1976 in a brand new Ford Fairlane 500. The passes were still closed in July.

    I chose a picture I took 55 years ago of my Patty wearing a red dress. On April Fool's Day, April 1, 1955.

    I gave her a diamond engagement ring, and today, April 1, 2010 is my entry for theme day on my Brookville Daily Photo blog.

  2. I just love your blog! I just know that I will keep on reading through your older posts.....
    I wonder if slippery elm is also native here in Sweden (or other parts of europe)?
    Very interesting, thank you for sharing!

  3. Hi, I am back... did some research on Google. Slippery Elm is called "Rotulme" in german...
    One can buy Slippery elm powder in Europe. It's used for humans also, but mainly for helping animal heath problems. Funny.
    I thought about ordering it online, but it seems very expensive.
    100 gramms are around $16,-
    How much is okay to use daily for a human when you have stomach problems?

  4. Hi HBFG - I've never been able to find any kind of side effect or warning for slippery elm. It's a good food. I did find one source that said it could slow down the absorption of medications because it coats the bowels for a while as it goes through. I buy it in 1 lb. bags from Azure Standard in Oregon. Currently that sells for about $25. The price has gone up in the last couple of years.

  5. Thank you Susan!
    I did find an online store in Sweden that sells it for a fair price.
    I had it home within 2 days and now I am experiencing a little with it.
    There is a lot of information on the net which helps me with dosage and different recipes.
    I am using it myself, my partner takes it too AND I give it to my little Jack Russel twice a day. It seems to help calming down her stomach as well.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.

  7. Dear Susan,
    I am trying to find an online store to buy some good quality slippery elm powder from Europe. Living in France, I cannot order it from the United States. And it is not easy to find.. Since you know well this product. I am hoping that you guide me in my search.
    So very thank you.
    Bien le bonjour de France a vous Susan,

  8. sells organic slippery elm powder in a bag. It's not expensive at all..

  9. Slippery elm tea is soothing for hemorrhoids aka piles. I drink this tea three times a day before the meals. It helps relieve constipation and ensure trouble free bowel movements. Also, the bowel inflammation is less and swelling around the anus has reduced. Slippery elm tea for hemorrhoids

  10. The most interesting medical advantages of slippery elm are its capacity to lessen irritation, relieve acid reflux, repair the damage skin, wipe out contaminations, diminish circulatory strain, increase blood, support eye health, ensure against ulcers, detoxify the body, helps in oral care and enhance respiratory health.



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