Slippery elm, also known as Ulmus fulva, red elm, sweet elm, or moose elm, is a tree belonging to species of elm and native to Appalachian mountains of eastern North America.
It is a medium-sized, deciduous tree that grows up to a height of 50 feet, and possesses spreading branches, forming an open crown. Its foliage is 12 - 18 cm long, having a rough texture, coarsely double serrate margin and an inclined base.
The tree blooms flowers in early spring at the tips of the branches in a dense, cluster form. It has a dark brown, rough, and fissured outer bark, while its mucilaginous inner bark, which comprises the main health benefits is white with a distinctive scent.
The major uses and benefits of this tree lie in the bark's mucilage, a sticky, viscous substance that oozes from the bark when comes in contact with water. This mucilage is enriched with numerous nutrients and some non-toxic, easy-to-digest complex carbohydrates.
It comprises vitamins and minerals like beta-sitosterol, campesterol, tannin, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, beta-carotene, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C. In spring, the bark is collected, dried and converted into either a coarse powder form used as poultices or a fine powder used to prepare a mucilaginous drink.
Benefits and Uses
This tree is well know for its softening and healing effects, hence, it serves as an excellent demulcent, emollient, expectorant, and diuretic. Listed here are some of its benefits and uses:
► For its soothing and softening properties, it is commonly used as a mucilaginous herb to smooth the mucous membranes, which helps curing and soothing cough and sore throat.
► For its healing properties, it is generally used as an effective poultices or medical dressing to reduce pain and inflammation caused by wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, and any other type of injury.
► Being high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it is ground and often used as a porridge. It has a taste and consistency just like an oatmeal, and so, many people have incorporated it in their routine diet.
► Its powder is often used as a home remedy or herbal medicine for tooth decay and pain. All you need to do is to put a pinch of this powder into a hollow tooth, and within a couple of days, the pain as well as the decaying will stop.
► It is extremely useful in treating various gastrointestinal problems and imbalances. It neutralizes the stomach acids, boosts the adrenal glands, soothes the irritation or ulceration of the stomach and intestines by forming a protective barrier between the ulcer and the infected or damaged stomach acid.
► It also aids in digestion, and helps clean the colon which further helps in relieving the pain or inflammation due to colon or stomach ulcers. Hence, it is used in treating numerous intestinal imbalances or disorders, including duodenal ulcers, gastritis, diarrhea, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, and heartburn.
► Besides these, the bark is also used to prepare burial caskets, rope, chords, fence posts, furniture, and even some musical instruments, like drums.
This beneficial bark can also be used to treat cancer, heart disease, and diseases related to female organs. Another key feature is that it possesses no known side effects, especially if consumed under a doctor's supervision. Now that you know what its benefits are, you will not forget to incorporate this essential herb in your lifestyle.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.