Slippery Elm - Soothing Food/Medicine

Soothing Smoothie

Slippery Elm Soothing Smoothie ~

The slightly earthen, almost bland in taste and greyish/fawn in colour powdered bark of Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra), is used a lot in my clinic for its soothing effect on the mucous membranes for many of my clients. Mucous membranes are the tissues which secrete mucus and line many body cavities and organs including the gut, urinary tract and respiratory tract of the body.

Slippery Elm is a beautiful tree that can live for 200 years, and it is the inner bark of the tree that contains polysaccharides (cellulose, starch and glycogen), small amounts of tannin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and good levels of fibre which are ideal for maintaining gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary tract health.

Slippery Elm is easy to digest, particularly for those troubled with ulcers, reflux, IBS, diverticulitis, Crohn’s, colitis, leaky gut, and inflammation of the stomach. Slippery Elm is also used for inflammation of the respiratory tract, mouth, throat, bladder, kidneys and urethra. It is the soothing and nutritive effect, anti-inflammatory action and protective barrier that Slippery Elm provides that helps with such indications.  

The alkaline salts in Slippery Elm also help to neutralise excess acidity thereby reducing stomach acidity.

When mixed with water, Slippery Elm swells to many times its original volume due to its high mucilage (the polysaccharide substance) content and will produce a gel-like mass if left to long.  The mucilage properties are great for providing lubrication to your poop, lowering bowel transit time, absorbing toxins and along with the high fibre content help to bulk up your poop.  These actions provide relief for hard stools that are difficult and painful to pass, constipation, rectal fissures, and diarrhoea.

The soluble and insoluble fibre content of Slippery Elm produces a great prebiotic effect on the bowel flora.  Prebiotics are the food for the probiotics. If your diet lacks probiotics and prebiotics bacteria can flourish, which can lead to poor digestion causing bloating, wind, constipation, diarrhoea, inflammation and damage of the gut lining leading to leaky gut.

Other uses for Slippery Elm include suppositories for haemorrhoids and fissures.  Poultices that are applied externally for burns, scalds, abrasions, rashes, sores, ulcers, and boils. You can also add a few drops of Myrrh essential oil to enhances its antiseptic and healing action to your poultice.

Preparations - Powder.

  • For intestinal discomfort, travel sickness or if using for the nutritive effect, one heaped teaspoon a day will suffice.
  • When ulceration and tissue damage has already occurred, the dose is one dessertspoonful taken once a day as Slippery Elm remains protective for approximately thirty hours. 
  • Slippery Elm can be sprinkled on your breakfast or added to a smoothie.
  • Slippery Elm blends more easily with sticky or fatty substances like yoghurt, or mashed banana.
  • As a poultice (this is a direct way to apply herbs to the skin), mix the powdered bark with enough water to make a paste. Spread the paste evenly over the desired area.  Wrap with gauze or muslin to hold the paste in place. You might wish to apply a layer of plastic wrap to the outside of the finished poultice, which will help ensure everything stays in place.
  • Always drink plenty of fluids when taking Slippery Elm internally as the powder absorbs intestinal fluids and taking too much or not drinking enough fluid can leave the intestines and lower bowel to dry.

Slippery Elm Soothing Smoothie

1 cup almond or rice milk
1 banana
1 teaspoon of cacao powder
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 pitted date
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of Slippery Elm powder or 1 dessertspoon (when damage has already occurred to the GIT, respiratory or urinary tract)
1 teaspoon of Marshmallow root powder

Place the ingredients into your high-speed blender and blend for around 30 seconds or until nice and smooth ~ enJOY.