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Slippery Elm for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, and skin inflammation

December 5th, 2008 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Slippery elm ( Ulmus fulva ) has been used as an herbal remedy in North America for centuries. Native Americans used slippery elm in healing salves for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, and skin inflammation. Antiseptic poultices made from the mucilage or gummy secretion from the bark were applied to infected wounds. In particular, the Cherokee used Slippery elm for coughs, skin conditions, and as an eye wash.

Slippery elm is also one of four herbs included in a popular therapy called essiac that is promoted for cancer treatment. This remedy was developed by a nurse in Canada in the early 1930’s. Later, the formula was expanded from its original inclusion of slippery elm, burdock root, sheep sorrel and Turkish rhubarb to also include red clover, water cress, blessed thistle, and kelp. Today, reports state that there are over 40 variations of these herbal combination remedies on the market, without scientific proof that any of them work.

The conditions for which slippery elm has received recognition from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe and effective option include sore throat (pharyngitis) and respiratory symptoms, such as cough.

Medicinal Uses and Indications

While there has been little scientific research on slippery elm, it has a long history of use based on clinical experience. Some of the conditions that seem to respond to slippery elm include:

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Mild respiratory ailments
  • Gastritis, peptic ulcer, and other gastrointestinal conditions
  • Diarrhea
  • Wounds, burns, boils, and other skin conditions (external)
  • Skin softener


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