Originating from the eastern deciduous forests of North America, the slippery elm, or Ulmus rubra, is a tree recognized for its distinctive reddish-brown bark. Native American tribes have long valued slippery elm bark, using it as both a source of food during lean times and as a mainstay in traditional medicine. They introduced European settlers to its uses, leading to its incorporation in a multitude of folk remedies. Holistically, the bark is considered a soothing and healing agent, reflecting its properties when consumed or applied. One of the key constituents of slippery elm bark is mucilage, a substance that turns slippery and gel-like when mixed with water. This property makes it especially beneficial for the digestive system, as it forms a protective layer lining the esophagus and stomach, alleviating issues like acid reflux, gastritis, and ulcers. For the skin, the mucilage provides a calming and moisturizing effect, making slippery elm bark effective in treating inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and burns. Its natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties further support skin health, promoting healing and reducing redness and irritation. Today, slippery elm bark can be found in various health products and skincare formulations, from teas and lozenges to creams and salves, echoing its age-old reputation as a healer and soother.


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