Indigenous to North America, slippery elm trees normally breed in damp, but not drenched forests in the United States as well as in eastern parts of neighboring Canada. Migrating planters from England have been familiar with various other varieties of elm tree barks and used them to cure coughs and sore throats back home in Europe. The barks of these slippery elm trees were also used a balm to heal fractured bone or cuts. Later, they used slippery elm as a remedy for urinary tract infections. Even the indigenous inhabitants of America effectively used the barks of slippery elm for treating cold sores as well as boils. Obviously, barks of slippery elm trees were common for healing battered eyes and also to cure gun-shot injuries during the American Revolution. Basically, the inner bark of slippery elm trees, the part next to the timber, has medicinal properties and is collected during spring.
Talking about the combination of this tree, the bark of slippery elm has mucilage, while the other constituents of the timber comprise beta-sitosterol as well as campestrol. It also contains some proportion of calcium oxalate, while the interior of the bark has tannin in small quantities. As it has been mentioned earlier, the bark of slippery elm tree has been traditionally used as a balm to heal external cuts and bruises as well as joint pains resulting from gout or other problems. Currently, the bark of slippery elm is primarily used to cure soar throats as is widely used as an element tablets available to cure throat inflammation. As aching throats and cough often accompany each other, the bark of slippery elm tree is also commonly used as a medicine to heal coughs. It may be noted here that the slippery elm bark can be blended with the bark of wild cherry, leaves of sweet gum, mullein, and also sweetening to prepare cough syrups at home. Those who can avail the bark of slippery elm directly may chew it. It is reported to have a tasty flavour and provide the same relief in the above mentioned ailments.
Inner bark, leaves, flowers.
When the bark of slippery elm is consumed on a regular basis, it is not only nourishing, but has a comforting effect too. Basically, the bark of slippery elm is a tremendous food when a patient is recuperating or is in an incapacitated condition. It helps enormously if a person's digestive system is feeble or extra responsive. Most importantly, slippery elm bark is a great and useful diet for infants. As mentioned earlier, slippery elm has a comforting effect and when applied the herb easily brings instantaneous respite to patients suffering from tartness, diarrhea and gastroenteritis. Slippery elm bark also has the properties to assist in assuaging people suffering from colic (stomach pain), burning sensation in the gut, constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis as well as tetchy or irritable bowel diseases.
While slippery elm helps to ease pain and irritation in the stomach, intestines, kidneys and the urinary tract, it is also useful in treating problems related to the reproductive as well as the respiratory system. If one uses the powder of slippery elm's inner bark, it can produce a superb comforting effect on the mucous membranes covering all over the body. In addition, the inner bark of slippery elm is of high medicinal value to treat gastritis, sourness, peptic ulcers, colitis as well as enteritis. The herb also has properties of alleviating cystitis, inflammatory bladder, nasal and bronchial catarrh as well as providing relief from an irksome cough.
When the slippery elm inner bark is combined with tepid water or milk to make a nutritious mixture, it provides great comfort in indigestion and heartburn. The mixture also provides for an effective diet for recuperating children and adults or people who are incapacitated. If the mixture of slippery elm and warm water or milk is difficult to consume, one may add powdered cinnamon or ginger, honey or any sweetener to add flavor to the potion. For healing external wounds, cuts or injuries, slippery elm bark may be blended with glycerin and applied as a cream over the affected area for quick healing. The paste is also useful for healing burns, scalds, ulcers as well as inflammatory skin problems. It may be noted that slippery elm is also useful in healing boils and swellings.
In addition, the herb has also been used as a remedy for all conditions of the chest and has a comforting effect on any problem related to the upper body - bronchitis to pleurisy as well as tuberculosis. If the powder or paste of slippery elm bark is applied externally on the epidermis, it proves to be an effective remedy to safeguard the skin and keep it soft and natural. In addition, slippery elm also has a beneficial action on boils and cracks on the skin.
Other medical uses
Habitat and cultivation
As mentioned earlier, the slippery tree is indigenous to the United States and neighboring Canada and grows naturally on the Appalachian Mountains. The tree survives best at an altitude and dry soil. It requires a moist atmosphere, but cannot survive in soaked land. The bark, particularly the inner bark, and the branches of the tree have medicinal properties and are collected during the spring.
Although very little research has been done into the medicinal benefits of the slippery elm, traditional use of the herb has proved that it has sizeable contents of mucilage. It has also been proved that the herb has multifarious remedial utilities. Whatever research has done into the medicinal properties of slippery elm bark, it has established that when the herb is in direct contact with irritated exteriors like the epidermis or intestinal coverings, it provides a comforting effect and also smothers the inflammatory tissues. The herb helps in protecting the tissues from any kind of damage and pulls out the contaminants or the annoyances.
If the slippery elm bark extract is consumed internally, it is considered to result in an impulsive stimulus of nerve endings in the stomach and intestines that result to the excretion of mucus by the tissue coverings of the urinary tract.
Slippery elm bark may be consumed in different forms. In order to heal the above mentioned aliments, one may take two or more tablets or capsules each of 400 - 500 mg three of four times daily. Alternatively, one can also consume a tea prepared from boiling one to two grams of slippery elm bark in 200 ml of water for 10-15 minutes and drink it after cooling. Normally, a person may consume 3 to 4 cups of this tea daily to get the best results. If one is using the tincture of slippery elm bark, it is advisable to five ml of the same daily for best results. In addition, the bark of the slippery tree is also used as a component of tablets, lozenges or syrups to treat sore throats and persistent coughs.
Side effects and cautions
There is no known side effects or interactions with any other medicines. Slippery elm is considered a quite safe herb.
In order to derive the best results from the herb, one must follow certain specifications while collecting the inner bark of the slippery elm tree, which contains the maximum remedial properties. The best time to collect the bark is spring and the procedure of collecting the inner bark of slippery elm is as follows.
If someone is suffering from an anal contagion, the best way to cure it is to use a water solution or an herbal tea containing 4/5 cup or 200 ml with 1 t or 5 grams of slippery elm powder, strained and tepid, and mixed with chamomile, catnip or oak bark. And if you desire to make an enema, enhance the quantity used to 3/4 oz or 20 grams of slippery elm powder.
Infuse the plants in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and let cool to lukewarm; combine the slippery elm powder in the teapot. Allow to swell for 10 minutes.