Otherwise known as red elm, slippery elm tree is native to some parts of North America. The tree has reddish-brown heart wood, and hence the name red elm. The bark of the tree is highly ridged, and has a distinct smell. It is said that the Native Americans used the inner bark of slippery elm for culinary as well as medicinal purposes. Slippery elm's inner bark is dried and powdered, and is sold in different forms, like lozenges, capsules, extract, and tea. It is said that the mucilage in the inner bark is responsible for the medicinal properties of the tree. Slippery elm tea is used as a popular herbal remedy for a wide range of health problems.
As an Infusion
- In order to prepare slippery elm tea, take two tablespoons of powdered bark, and pour two cups of boiling water over it.
- Let the tea steep for around five minutes. Once done, you can strain and consume this herbal tea. Usually, this infusion is consumed two to three times a day.
- Slippery elm tea can also be prepared as a decoction, in which you have to cook the bark powder in water (1:8 ratio) for at least an hour, on low heat.
- The end product will be mucilaginous in nature, and has to be taken as per the instructions of a qualified herbalist.
Slippery elm bark tea is used for relief from bowel problems, like ulcers, gastritis, indigestion, acidity, constipation, esophagitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, etc. It is also said to be highly effective in combating acidity in the stomach. It is said that the mucilaginous substance in the slippery elm bark heals the inflamed mucous membranes of the digestive tract, and protects them from further damage. Slippery elm tea is also used as a herbal remedy for cough, sore throat, and bronchitis. Some people use this herbal tea for skin care, and it is suggested that this preparation may be effective in treating psoriasis. It is also used in treating certain kidney problems and hemorrhoids. Slippery elm bark is used in many different ways, as salves for wounds (not to be applied on open wounds), as poultices, as lozenges, tincture, and capsules.