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Slippery elm bark, a gut healer from stem to stern

Slippery elm tree in bloom
Slippery Elm in bloom

 Slippery elm bark from Ulmus Rubra is an elm tree native to North America. It has traditional use stretching back thousands of years.

 One of the major benefits of Slippery Elm bark is it’s mucilage, a type of fiber that forms a gel like substance when wet. This mucilage soothes irritated tissues. I like to use Slippery elm for any irritation in the alimentary tract from beginning to end.

Slippery elm bark tea is slimy and seems to soothe irritated throats and moisten vocal chords when overused. This mucilage also coats the esophagus and stomach and intestines offering protection to the tissues when they are irritated as well.  I have found relief from symptoms of GERD, indigestion and lower digestive gas by using slippery elm bark.


Slippery elm also helps assist when intestines get disordered. I say it makes runneth those that are stopped up and stops up those that runneth. Constipation and diarrhea are both eased by the use of Slippery elm bark .


Slippery elm is a nutritive plant with no VOC (volatile organic compounds)’s or pronounced taste so it can be added to foods like oatmeal or porridge, mixed in yogurt or smoothies or mixed in a beverage of choice.

Slippery elm balls in a bowl
Slippery Elm balls


My favorite way to take slippery elm is in the form of balls made from slippery elm bark powder mixed with honey. These balls are easy to make and delightful to take. They are easy and safe enough for a child  to make yet powerful enough to offer relief from digestive upsets. I use raw honey and the bark powder, just enough to make a stiff dough, roll the dough into balls about the size of my thumbnail then toss the balls into more slippery elm bark powder or even cocoa powder to keep the balls from sticking to each other as they dry.

slippery elm balls dusted in cocoa and slippery elm powder
slippery elm balls dusted in cocoa and slippery elm powder


For sore throats I like to use sage honey, honey I have steeped sage leaves in for 6 weeks. Sage honey is exceptionally soothing to a sore throat and enhances the effectiveness of the slippery elm balls as you suck on the but any good quality honey will do. I just put a ball between my cheek and gum and let it dissolve and glide down my throat.

Slippery elm bark powder
Slippery elm bark powder


 For stomach and gastric conditions, I will suck on a ball or in the case of acid reflux, I like to take a spoonful of the bark powder, mix it in a beverage as best as I can and drink it down to help absorb the excess acid in my stomach and soothe the burning feeling. You can even put the powder inside gelatin caps and swallow them if the texture is a problem for you. For constipation I mix the powder with yogurt into a slurry or mix in cooked oatmeal and make sure I’m drinking plenty of liquid, tea, water, what ever is my beverage of choice. When the runs strike, I will chew up a slippery elm ball or 2 to help ease the distress in my lower bowel.


Slippery elm is a gentle, all purpose  gut healer from stem to stern. It is safe to use for the very young to the very old. Slippery elm may hinder the absorption of pharmaceutical meds so it is suggested that they not be not be taken at the same time.



The information presented is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your physician or other medical professional. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your physician or health care provider.

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