What Is Slippery Elm Powder?

Debra Barnhart

Slippery elm powder is a well-known herbal remedy with a distinguished reputation. This herb from the slippery elm tree has a soothing and restorative effect on mucous membranes and is said to be good for treating a variety of health-related problems. Slippery elm is a recognized drug of the US Pharmacopeia, the official agency that sets standards for prescription and over-the-counter medications in the United States.

Some throat lozenges contain slippery elm.
Some throat lozenges contain slippery elm.

Not only is this herbal powder said to be an effective health remedy, but some claim that it has substantial nutritional value as well. In fact, some herbal experts claim that it has as much nutritional value as oatmeal. Two types of slippery elm powder are available: a fine powder for drinks and a course powder for poultices. The powder should be a gray or light brown in color.

Slippery elm powder may be used in conjunction with baking soda and other ingredients to make tooth powder.
Slippery elm powder may be used in conjunction with baking soda and other ingredients to make tooth powder.

The benefits of slippery elm are said to be numerous, while the side effects appear to be rare. Because of its positive effect on mucous membranes, slippery elm powder can be used to treat an array of ailments. When consumed as a drink it is useful in soothing the stomach and intestines. This herbal treatment is said to be a remedy for ulcers, gastritis, colitis, diverticulitis and constipation. Slippery elm is also claimed to offer relief for cystitis and other urinary tract inflammations.

Drinks made from slippery elm powder are said to be beneficial to the lungs and can be used to treat coughs caused by colds, bronchitis and other diseases of the lungs. These drinks are soothing for sore throats and many throat lozenges contain slippery elm. This powder is even said to slow tooth decay.

According to herbal experts, poultices made from slippery elm powder can calm the irritation of cuts, burns and boils. In addition, a poultice can be used to treat arthritis inflammation and gout. This herbal powder should be combined with hot water, to form a thick consistency, and applied to the affected area.

The slippery elm tree grows in the US and Canada and is known by various other names including the red elm and the moose elm. The powder is made from the inner bark of the slippery elm tree. Slippery elm powders and capsules are available online. Boiled or hot water is usually recommended for mixing the powder with drinks, since it does not dissolve easily in water. Slippery elm powder has a slightly sweet taste and is claimed to be safe for children as well.

Slippery elm powder can be sold in drink mix form.
Slippery elm powder can be sold in drink mix form.

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