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  • W. Blake Kooi

The Medicinal Power of Slippery Elm Bark



Slippery elm is a type of tree native to North America and its bark should be an essential item to have on hand in your personal apothecary. When the bark of the slippery elm tree is ground into powder it can be made into a tea that has a pleasant aroma and viscosity; however, herbalist often refer to this viscosity as being mucilaginous. I avoid this term when talking to people unfamiliar with it, because it conjures up visuals of mucous. Mucilaginous plants are often medicinal. Probably the most familiar mucilaginous plant that people are aware of is the aloe vera plant. When taken as a tea, it coats and sooths the throat, stomach, and intestine. It is often used by individuals with Crohn’s Disease and Colitis to provide relief. I simply tried it after I ate spicy food and it made the burning sensation in my stomach go away.

To take the tea, you first boil 8 oz of water, then you stir in ¼ teaspoon of slippery elm bark powder, lastly you wait 15 minutes to allow the tea to thicken. I’ve seen capsule forms of slippery elm bark powder and have seen it incorporated into health foods; however, I don’t understand how it would have the same benefits without first letting it congeal as a tea.


The book shown in this post is coauthored by Nicole Apelian who describes further uses for slippery elm bark powder. You may recognize her as one of the competitors in the show, Alone, hosted by the History Channel.

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