Slippery Elm

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Disclaimer: This data is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to prescribe or treat specific problems. As with any herb or medication, please consult your Doctor of Naturopath or your Medical Doctor before trying anything new.

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(Ulmus fulva)

The part of this herb used is the Inner Bark.

Slippery Elm has Demulcent, Emollient, Nutritive, and Astringent properties.

The bark can be powdered and prepared in the form of pills, capsules, or as an infusion. The whole bark can be prepared as a decoction. Gruel and Syrup can be prepared as well, and will be discussed later this week.

Slippery Elm tea is reputed to be good for coughs and bronchitis when it is added to cough medicines.

For external use a poultice is made and applied to sores, burns, and problem skin area. Many people make a paste and use it to help with a poison ivy outbreak.

Slippery Elm is used to help bind the igredients of suppositories and lozenges together.

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The Slippery Elm Tree grows to approximately 60 feet tall and has deep furrowed bark and very dark green leaves that measure 7 to 8 inches long and a couple of inches wide. The edges of the leaves are toothed, and are rough on the top and fuzzy on the under side. The buds at the tips of the brances sometimes have orange tips. The trees can be propagated or bought as young trees from a nursery, and are easy to grow as they tolerate moist and poor dry soil.

A gruel was used to nourishing children and the elderly that have weak stomachs, ulcers, and those recovering from illnesses.

To Make Gruel:

Mix 1 teaspoon Slippery Elm Powder with enough cold water to make a smooth thin paste. While constantly stirring, pour one pint of boiling water onto the paste. Flavor this with lemon, honey, cinnamon, or other spices to your liking.

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Slippery Elm Suppository For Hemorrhoids Recipe

5 parts of Slippery Elm Powder
1 part White Oak Powder.

Moisten with enough water to make a dry, dough-like paste. Form into 1 inch long oblong spheres. Allow to dry until firm. Before using, moisten entire surface with vegetable oil and insert.

*This is for mild hemorrhoid treatment and gives quick acting treatment. Remember to check with your doctor if you are unsure or have serious hemorrhoid problems.

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Slippery Elm Compress

In his book "The Way of Herbs", Michael Tierra speaks of the effectiveness of herbal compresses. He tells of a time when he used a slippery elm compress on a family member who was ill and in the hospital. He tells that the patient was suffering from postoperative shock and was extremely weak and had severe diarrhea. After the compress, the next morning the diarrhea and dehydration was noticeably improved and the patient could eat again.

Slippery Elm is said to encourage muscle relaxation, and the herb, a mild calmative, has also been used as a specific for the intestines. The herbal qualitites combine with the relaxant properties of the heated compress and help the ailing patient.

To make a compress:

Compress are simply towels soaked in hot herbal infusions or teas and applied to a particular area of the body to relax, stimulate, or energize the body. (A cool, soothing compress should be used to calm swelling that often comes from sprains and bruises, using cooling herbs.) Compresses should always be used in a warm room where the patient will be comfortable.

Have your herbal infusion be around 160 degrees and then immerse a clean hand towl or cloth into the infusion. Twist the cloth and wring out excess water and then apply as hot as possible to the affected part. (be careful not to burn your patient). Cover with a dry towel and begin preparing another one. When the 1st compress is cooled (it only takes a few minutes) then change it with the second one. Continue this for about 20 minutes. You normally can stop applying the compress when the skin becomes evenly flushed, or if the patient feels a tingling or feels relief.

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Slippery Elm Poultice

A Poultice consists of dried, powdered, or macerated herbs that are moistened with hot water or herb tea and applied directly to the skin area to be treated. A clean towel, cloth, or bandage placed over the poultice will hold it in place. Poultices are good for drawing out infection and relieving muscle spasms and pain. Whenever you use a poultice, be sure that the cloth covering the poultice is warm, and that the person being treated is comfortable warm as well.

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Making Slippery Elm Poutlice

1/4 cup Slippery Elm Powder
water

Work the herb powder into a paste with warm water and spread it onto a cloth with a spatula or back of a plastic spoon. Place the cloth over the affected area and cover with a warm towel.

Slippery ELm poultices are good for soothing inflamed skin, burns, bruises, and wounds. It is also used for treating mastitis as well.

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Slippery Elm is a good herb to be used in Demulcent Therapy.

Demulcent Therapy is the using of herbs that have mucilagenous properties that can soothe the stomach, throat, intestines, and bowels during flare ups.

Demulcents are sometimes used in decoctions, pastes, and syrups. This is to exctract the mucilangenous substance so it can be internally taken to soothe irritation. It is often taken on an empty stomach or between eating.

Other demulcent herbs besides Slippery Elm are Mullein, Flaxseed, Psyllium, & Marshamallow root.

DISCLAIMER: This data is for informational purposes only and not meant to be a treatment or recommendation. Please check with your Doctor of Naturopathy or M.D. before trying anything new.

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Marcia Wilson
Journeywoman Herbalist
The Allways Natural Herb Farm
10/21/98

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© 1998- Linda Coffin

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