Slippery elm is a medium-sized tree native to North America. It can reach well over 50 feet in height and is topped by spreading branches that form an open crown. The red, brown, or orange branches grow downward, and the stalkless flowers are arranged in dense clusters. Slippery elm in teas is formulated to relieve sore throat, or create your own tea by steeping about two tablespoons of powdered slippery elm bark in two cups of hot water for three to five minutes.
Slippery elm contains mucilage, a substance that offers soothing relief by forming a thin film that eases pain, inflammation and irritation. The benefits of mucilage extend to gastrointestinal disorders by providing a protective film over the digestive tract, making it useful for upset stomach, heartburn and other digestive problems. Slippery elm stimulates nerve endings that increase mucous production in the gastrointestinal tract, which offers protection against excessive acid production.
It is a very safe and gentle herb and is allergen free (unless you are allergic to elm trees). Slippery Elm Bark herb can be taken by anyone; infants, pregnant women, and the elderly can all enjoy its benefits, but never give it to infants without under a doctor’s supervision. External uses include treatment of skin conditions, vaginitis, and haemorrhoids.
Slippery elm has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks or advantages of slippery elm may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. Although rare, allergic reactions to slippery elm may occur. Stop taking slippery elm and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.
Slippery elm tea can also be found in the form of tea bags at health food stores.