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Slippery elm quick review
Botanical description: also known as Ulmus fulva, red elm, sweet elm, Indian elm, and moose elm, a medium-sized tree growing over 50 feet in height.
Active constituents: mucilage, complex carbohydrates, tannins, calcium oxalate, phytosterols, sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, salicylic acid, capric acid, caprylic acid, decanoic acid, and vitamin E.
Health benefits: neutralizes stomach acids, boosts the adrenal glands, draws out impurities and heals all parts of the body, soothes the inflammation of ulcers in the stomach and duodenum.

Dosage: general dosage of dried inner bark in capsule form ranges between 4-10 g per day, in three or four devided doses.
Side effects: completely non-toxic, and has no known drug interactions.
 

Slippery elm


Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra, syn. U. fulva) is a species of elm native to eastern North America. Slippery elm is also known as Ulmus fulva, red elm, sweet elm, Indian elm, and moose elm. Slippery elm is a medium-sized tree growing over 50 feet in height and is topped by spreading branches that form an open crown. Its exterior bark is dark brown, rough, and fissured. The mucilaginous inner bark is white with a distinctive scent. The leaves are 10-18 cm long, with a rough texture, coarsely double-serrate margin and an oblique base. The downy leaf buds are rust colored with orange tips. The alternate leaves are dark-green, hairy, and abrasive on top, and a lighter green, hairy, and less abrasive on the underside. The tree flowers in early spring before it comes into leaf. Flowers bloom in dense and inconspicuous clusters at the tips of the branches that spread out into an open crown. The flowers are subsessile in dense fascicles with 5-9 stamens. They appear before the leaves in the spring. The fruit is a flat, 1-seeded samara. Each fruit consists of a single seed surrounded by a thin, winged margin, which aids its dispersion by the wind. The inner bark of the tree is the main part used for medicinal preparations.
 

Active constituents of slippery elm


The inner bark of slippery elm contains mucilage (galactose, 3-methyl galactose, hexoses, pentoses, methylpentoses, polyuronides, rhamnose and galacturonic acid residues), complex carbohydrates, tannins, calcium oxalate, phytosterols, sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, salicylic acid, capric acid, caprylic acid, decanoic acid, and vitamin E. The mucilage in slippery elm bark is a demulcent and emollient. Tannins are typically used as astringents to treat weeping skin lesions, diarrhea or bleeding. Tannins also help tighten and constrict the tissue.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of slippery elm


Slippery elm acts as a demulcent, emollient, expectorant, and diuretic. Slippery elm neutralizes stomach acids, boosts the adrenal glands, draws out impurities and heals all parts of the body. Mucilage in the inner bark pf slippery elm coats the mouth, esophagus, and gastrointestinal tract with a slick residue. Slippery elm soothes the inflammation of ulcers in the stomach and duodenum and provides a protective barrier between the ulcer and damaging stomach acid. Slippery elm soothes irritation or ulceration of the stomach and intestines and is useful for treating gastrointestinal conditions. It may soothe a sore throat, help to alleviate the pain of colic or stomach ulcers, and relieve inflammatory bowel conditions. It aids digestion and helps cleanse the colon. Slippery elm is also a soothing and nutritive tonic benefiting the adrenal glands, the respiratory system, and the gastrointestinal tract. Slippery elm is particularly effective for easing a cough and soothing a sore throat, coating the area and reducing irritation. Topically, elm may be applied to the skin surface to relieve minor injuries such as burns, cold sores, razor burn, scrapes, and sunburn. Slippery elm has been used to treat chest conditions. The herb is very useful to relieve pain during irritable bowel or Crohn's-like attacks.
 

Dosage and administration of slippery elm


General dosage of dried inner bark in capsule form ranges between 4-10 g per day, in three or four devided doses. A tea can also be made by boiling teaspoonfuls of loose bark in one cup of water for ten to fifteen minutes, then cooled before drinking. Three to four cups a day can be used. To make infusion: prepare by pouring 2 cups boiling water over 4 grams (roughly 2 tablespoons) of powdered bark and then steeping for 3 to 5 minutes. Drink three times per day. For external application, mix coarse powdered bark with boiling water to make a poultice.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


Slippery elm is considered a safe herb when taken at commonly recommended dosages. It is completely non-toxic, and has no known drug interactions. Slippery elm is thought to be safe for use during pregnancy and lactation. Some people develop an allergic rash when slippery elm is applied to the skin.