The slippery elm tree, also known as the red elm or Ulmus rubra is native to North America and grows heartily across the midwest from North Dakota to Maine and as far north as Manitoba, Canada. Slippery elm has a rich history of holistic health uses and was employed by Native American tribes to treat a range of health concerns from coughs to skin abrasions. The inner bark of the slippery elm is home to its most potent health benefits and it’s unique properties might surprise you. Read on to learn more about slippery elm bark and how it may support your natural health journey.
What’s Slippery Elm?
The most widely used part of the slippery elm tree is the inner bark, which has a slick, slippery texture when mixed with water, giving it the name “slippery elm.” The cause of this slippery feeling comes from the mucilage. Mucilage is a thick, glue-like substance produced by nearly all plants and even some microorganisms. The mucilage in slippery elm has been found to be especially beneficial due to its chemical makeup and its antioxidants. Slippery elm bark is harvested by peeling the bark from the tree in long strips. The bark is then separated, and the inner bark is retained for natural, medicinal use. After collection, the sticky inner bark is cleaned, processed, and turned into a powder for use in natural herbal supplements and teas.
Potential Benefits of Slippery Elm Bark
Slippery Elm Bark for Throat Care
Slippery elm bark has a long history of bringing comfort and healing to those looking for natural support for a diverse list of health issues; however, it is commonly associated with throat care. The sticky mucilage of the bark does a great job of coating the throat and temporarily easing the discomfort associated with some oral health conditions. Because of these qualities, slippery elm is found in teas and cough drops, allowing one to quickly reap the benefits of its soothing properties.
Slippery Elm Bark for Digestion Support
When ingested, research shows that slippery elm may provide some comfort to those struggling with digestive issues. In the same way that the antioxidant-rich mucilage coats the throat, it may also coat the intestines and provide relief for digestive issues as well.
Slippery Elm Bark for Wound Care
Due to its gel-like sticky nature, slippery elm can be very soothing when used on wounds, sores, and other skin issues. Research and anecdotal history shows us that slippery elm may be potentially beneficial for the treatment of burns, cold sores, and boils.
Other Uses for Slippery Elm Bark
Detailed research is in its infancy as to the effects of slippery elm bark on the treatment of damaged cells due to oxidative stress. Some early studies show that it may be helpful in supporting for breast cell health, but further research is warranted.
Try These Slippery Elm Bark Products
If you feel that slippery elm supplements could positively impact your natural lifestyle, Natural Healthy Concepts has many options to choose from. Slippery Elm Powder from NOW Foods is a powdered herbal supplement that can be stirred into warm water to support gastrointestinal and respiratory health. Add raw honey for a touch of sweetness and for extra antioxidants. Slippery Elm Bark from Nature’s Way is a soothing emollient for digestive system support, which is available in easy-to-swallow veggie capsules. If you’re looking for slippery elm in liquid form, check out Slippery Elm from Oregon’s Wild Harvest. These drops of slippery elm bark extract can be taken three times daily in warm water to provide temporary relief from occasional discomfort in the throat and stomach.
Have you experienced the potential benefits of slippery elm bark? If so, share your experience in the comments section below.