Slippery elm whose botanical name is Ulmus rubra, is a species of the elm tree that grows mostly in the eastern part of North America. This deciduous tree is also commonly known as Indian Elm, Red Elm, Moose Elm, etc. There are many traditional uses of this tree, wherein, its various parts can be used for medicinal purposes.
For instance, the inner bark of the tree is ground and used as a herbal medicine to treat many ailments. The bark also contains mucilage, which is a sticky substance that turns into a gel when mixed with water and has many benefits. Native Americans used this elm variety in the preparation of many ointments, balms, and other salves. The inner bark of the tree is finely or coarsely ground and used for various medicinal purposes.
The Benefits and Uses
Given below are some of the positive effects of slippery elm on the body:
- The mucilage that is present in the bark of the slippery elm contains an easy to digest, non toxic, complex carbohydrate, which helps in the digestion of food.
- The inner bark of the tree is rich in nutrients, like, beta carotene, magnesium, iron, vitamin B complex, zinc, potassium, and vitamin C.
- One of the important benefits of this tree is that, it has a soothing impact on anything that it comes in contact with, like, the mouth, the throat, and the intestinal tract.
- The mucilage is also rich in antioxidants that help in soothing the inflammation of the bowel system. It triggers the production of the mucus in the gastrointestinal tract that protects the inner lining from stomach ulcers and excess acidity.
- The tree is effective in treating heartburn, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, and gastritis.
- The bark of the tree can be ground and eaten for breakfast in the form of porridge. Consuming this porridge can treat the inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. This porridge can also be given to infants and invalids.
- The tree is a component in Essiac, a formula, which is used for treating patients suffering from cancer.
- Slippery elms have been prescribed with Bugleweed compounds in order to treat patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
- The powder of the bark is used to prevent tooth decay and other dental problems.
- It is an excellent remedy that is used to treat problems, like, diarrhea, constipation, and acid reflux disease, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Some other ailments that can be treated with the help of this magical tree are, psoriasis, burns, boils, and other skin problems.
Though there are no proven serious side effects of consuming this tree in any form, it must be taken under the supervision of a health care provider. It can sometimes interact with certain medications and other herbs and slow down their effect. Hence, it is advisable to take it before or after two hours of taking other medication and drugs. It should not be consumed by pregnant women, as it may lead to a miscarriage, since the outer bark of the tree may contain certain substances that can increase the risk of abortions.
Slippery elm can be taken in the form of lozenges, cough syrups, capsules and tablets, coarsely powdered bark used as a hot compress for aches, and finely powdered bark that can be used in the form of tea. Stay healthy!