Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) for gastrointestinal problems
Slippery elm has been used as an herbal remedy for stomach problems in North America for centuries. Native Americans used slippery elm in healing salves for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, and skin inflammation. It was also taken orally to relieve coughs, sore throats, diarrhea, and stomach problems.
Slippery Elm Bark Powder is a soothing nutritive demulcent which is perfectly suited for the sensitive and inflamed mucous membrane linings in the digestive system. It will stay down even if all else comes out.
It is often used for its nutritive values during convalescence as it is gentle and easily assimilated.
Slippery elm contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. It coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines; it also contains antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel conditions. Slippery elm also causes reflux stimulation of nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract leading to increased mucus secretion. The increased mucus production may protect the gastrointestinal tract against ulcers and excess acidity.
There has been little scientific research on slippery elm, but it is often suggested for the following conditions:
- Sore throat
- Gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD)
- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Wounds, burns, boils, psoriasis, and other skin conditions (external)
How to Take It
Although there are no scientific studies examining the use of slippery elm in children, it is generally considered to be safe. Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for a child’s weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. So if the child weighs 50 lb (20 – 25 kg), the appropriate dose of slippery elm would be 1/3 of the adult dose.
- Tea: Pour 2 cups boiling water over 4 g (roughly 2 tablespoons) of powdered bark and then steep for 3 – 5 minutes. Drink 3 times per day.
- Tincture: 5 mL 3 times per day. Note: Contains alcohol.
- Capsules: 400 – 500 mg 3 – 4 times daily for 4 – 8 weeks. Take with a full glass of water.
- Lozenges: follow dosing instructions on label.
- External application: Mix coarse powdered bark with boiling water to make a poultice; cool and apply to affected area. Never apply slippery elm to an open wound.
University of Maryland Medical Center (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/slippery-elm-000274.htm)
Duke JA. CRC: Handbook of medicinal herbs, Boca Raton: CRC Press, 1985.
David Hoffmann: The Herbal Handbook, A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism, Rochester VT 1987
Sara Altshul O’Donnell: The Woman’s Book of Healing Herbs, Rodale Books; 1999