Native Americans traditionally used slippery elm in healing salves and poultices for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, and skin inflammation. The inner bark of the slippery elm tree has been used as a herbal remedy for centuries.On contact with water, slippery elm powder becomes mucilaginous (slimey, gel-like) in texture which accounts for the majority of its medicinal properties. It has demulcent actions on all mucous membranes.
Demulcent means that it is soothing, softening, buffering, and has poison-drawing qualities. This herb has a number of health benefits. It helps to neutralise stomach acids, boost the adrenal glands, draw out impurities, and heal all parts of the body. The mucilage coats the mouth, oesophagus, and gastrointestinal tract with a slick residue. It soothes the inflammation of ulcers in the stomach and duodenum and helps to provide a barrier between the ulcer and stomach acid. It soothes irritations or ulcerations in the stomach and intestines and is good for helping with gastrointestinal conditions.
Slippery elm can help to soothe a sore throat, alleviate the pain of colic or stomach ulcers, and relieve inflammatory bowel conditions. Slippery elm helps with digestion and cleanses the colon. It is particularly helpful for easing a cough and soothing a sore throat as it coats the area and reduces irritation. Slippery elm is a tonic that benefits the adrenal glands, respiratory system, and the gastrointestinal tract. Used topically, slippery elm can relieve minor injuries such as burns, cold sores, razor burns, scrapes, and sunburn. Sometimes slippery elm leaves are dried and ground into a powder, then made into a tea.
Slippery elm is generally regarded as safe and well tolerated. No known side effects or health hazards have been reported for slippery elm. It is a safe and effective child's remedy.