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Food is Medicine: Slippery Elm

Food is Medicine: Slippery Elm

Herbs, grasses, berries, roots and even trees are beneficial for our health. Yet when have you ever looked at a tree and considered them a useful addition to your medicine chest? Slippery elm has been used for centuries by Native Americans and herbalists to help the body fight against dryness and heat. Read further for the top down and inside out uses for slippery elm, and advice for how to take slippery elm capsules.

5 Uses for Slippery Elm

Sore Throat and Cough

Slippery elm is considered a mucilage herb, meaning it turns to a gooey, gelatinous substance when added to water. Slippery elm contains many polysaccharides, tannins, polyphenols, mucilages, Vitamins C and B, minerals and fatty acids. The mucilages help suppress coughs and aid in soothing sore throats brought on by a cold, flu or even bronchitis. To soothe the sore throat, consider a slippery elm lozenge or sip a tea. I think it tastes great, kind of like browned maple syrup! Or, to help soothe a sore throat, try Oregon’s Wild Harvest Slippery Elm Powder.


Also referred to as acid reflux, heartburn can have many root causes. Heartburn can occur due to food sensitivities, hiatal hernia, or as a result of decreased digestive capacity. No matter what is causing heartburn, slippery elm can soothe it. Slippery elm is a demulcent meaning it relieves inflammation or irritation of the mucous membrane. To soothe your heartburn, you may reach for a chewable lozenge before or after each meal. 

Stomach or Intestinal Ulcers

Remember, slippery elm has an ability to calm inflammation or cool heat. If you have ever suffered from the burning pain of an ulcer, you can relate to how painful this inflammation can be. Adding slippery elm powder three times a day to your care plan can quickly repair the irritated mucosal tissues. In the meantime, treat your body right by avoiding fried foods, red meat, coffee (very acidic), and hotter spices like cinnamon, mustard and black pepper. Include more mucilaginous foods to your diet like banana, oats and avocado, if tolerable. Including raw cabbage juice on an empty stomach can be extra effective. To further support, coat, and soothe the gastrointestinal tract, try NOW FoodsSlippery Elm 400 Mg.

Constipation or Diarrhea

So many people suffer needlessly from chronic constipation or diarrhea. Neither is normal and neither is healthy. Either can result from a diet lacking adequate fiber. Count up your gram of fiber you eat every day. Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber. High fiber foods are beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, prunes, and whole grains. Opportunistic (bad) bacteria overgrowth can also cause constipation or diarrhea. To help make going easier, reach for slippery elm capsules or powder. Its tannins and mucilages can help move things along by breaking up bad bacteria overgrowth. For diarrhea, try the same. The herb works for the service of man and will help slow things down if needed.

Skin Inflammation

Yes, slippery elm works well inside and outside of our bodies. For troublesome skin issues like psoriasis, think slippery elm. When paired with a whole-food anti-inflammatory diet plan, slippery elm tea taken daily has been found to relieve mild to severe psoriasis. For minor skin wounds or to soothe sunburns, a topical paste of slippery elm acts as an herbal bandage.

Before deciding how to take slippery elm capsules to support your health, remember that it is always best to inform your doctor when you are using herbs. Make a list of all your herbal questions and ask your doctor to answer them. For more information you may seek an herbalist or natural healthcare provider!