Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) has been used as an herbal remedy in North America for hundreds of years. Native Americans used this herb, which comes from the inner bark of the tree, to make healing salves for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, and other types of skin inflammation. They also used it orally to relieve coughs, sore throats, diarrhea, and other digestive upsets.
Slippery Elm contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slippery gel (hence, its name) when mixed with water. This mixture soothes the lining of the throat, stomach, and intestines and also contains antioxidants that can help with inflammatory conditions. Slippery Elm also causes reflux stimulation of the nerve endings in the GI tract, leading to increased mucus secretion and protection against excess acidity and ulcers.
When you purchase Slippery Elm for your pet or yourself, it should be ground into a fine powder and light tan in appearance. If the product is darker in color, it could include outer bark from the tree which might be irritating instead of soothing. Always mix Slippery Elm powder with water (or another liquid) in order to make a gel as this mixture will help to line the gut and soothe inflammation in the body.
For Dogs and Cats
Since Slippery Elm is high in fiber and has unique gut healing properties, it can be used to relieve both diarrhea and constipation in your dog, and it is also completely safe to use in cats. Additionally, Slippery Elm can be used to help with vomiting as well as gastric ulcers in both animals. Other uses of the herb include treatment for inflammatory conditions of the lungs, kidneys, bladder, and joints.
For the average size cat, give one teaspoon of Slippery Elm powder twice daily mixed with food. For finicky cats, you can use a one mL syringe to give orally twice a day.
For dogs up to 10 pounds, give one tsp of Slippery Elm powder twice daily; For medium dogs, give 1-2 tbsp twice daily; and for large dogs, give 3-4 tbsp twice daily. For diarrhea or mouth ulcers, syringe feed the mixture 5-10 minutes before meals.
For horses, Slippery Elm is most commonly used in treating colic, colitis (IBD), and gastric ulcers, as it assists with regular bowel movements, lowers the acidity in the stomach, and even helps to restore bacterial balance in the gut. For ulcers, Slippery Elm is often combined with aloe vera juice (instead of water) for added healing benefits.
You can feed Slippery Elm by either syringing the mixture in your horse’s mouth or mixing it into their feed. A single, daily dose of our Slippery Elm Powder for 10-12 weeks can help to heal your horse’s chronic digestive issues.
As a poultice, Slippery Elm can help reduce inflammation and even remove toxins. This is especially helpful for hoof abscesses.
Slippery Elm is a safe herb with no known side effects, but due to its mucilaginous properties, it’s best to feed several hours after administering any other medications so that they can first be fully absorbed.