Wednesday Wisdom - Slippery Elm
Slippery Elm – Ulmus rubra, U. fulva
Common Names: Red Elm, Moose Elm, Indian Elm, Sweet Elm.
Habitat: Central and eastern parts of North America.
Parts used: Inner bark, powdered.
Collection: This is usually done commercially from trees of approximately ten years of age. Unfortunately, this often leads to the death of the tree, so the soft inner bark is now in short supply, and costly.
Actions: Demulcent, nutritive, emollient, astringent.
Rich in mucilage, slippery elm can be used as a food and a medicine. It will soothe inflammation, both internally and externally. Externally, it is excellent used as a poultice (can be combined in equal proportions with powdered marshmallow) to draw poison, ulcers, and boils and to encourage wounds to heal. When moistened, because of its mucilaginous content slippery elm will take on a soft and slimy consistency; this is particularly helpful when poulticing horses because the dressing will tend to stay in place whilst you are securing the bandage. Can be used internally to soothe the digestive tract, for ulceration and colitis. It is an easily assimilated food, and a specific for scouring, particularly in young foals and elderly horses. The action of slippery elm is gentle and will not harm the most sensitive of horses. When used for scouring it will reduce the inflammation present with its soothing and mildly astringent action, rather than ‘bunging’ up the system, which is how the chalky conventional treatments tend to work.
Slippery Elm can be found in our equine GastriX supplement which helps to support healthy digestion.