One useful herb that everyone should have on hand is slippery elm!
It’s a great solution for a wide range of digestive problems to respiratory issues and many other issues in-between. Slippery Elm is one of the safest herbs you can use! It literally comes from nature!
Slippery Elm can help with:
- Other Digestive Issues
- Food transition
- Urinary Tract
- Skin Healing
What is Slippery Elm?
Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) also goes by the names red elm and sweet elm.
It’s a deciduous tree found in eastern North America. First Nations have used the inner bark for centuries as a remedy for digestive upset, coughs and more.
Here are some of its medicinal properties …
- Demulcent – Slippery elm secretes a gooey substance called mucilage. Mucilage creates a protective film to relieve mucous membrane irritation.
- Laxative – This herb acts as a mild laxative to help with bowel movements.
- Emollient – Slippery elm helps to soften and soothe skin.
- Astringent – It can dry and tighten skin cells and tissue.
- Nuritive – Slippery elm helps to nourish the body. It’s packed with nutrients like vitamins A, B complex, C, K, calcium, magnesium and sodium.
- Anti-inflammatory – Slippery elm helps to reduce redness, swelling and pain.
Slippery elm gets harvested in the spring and you can use it internally and topically. It has a sweet taste and is usually found in powder form.
9 Ways Slippery Elm Can Help Your Pet
Slippery elm is helpful for acute cases of diarrhea. (Acute meaning short term, usually self-resolving illness…compared to chronic, long term ailments.)
It helps soothe the mucous membranes in the digestive tract and ease inflammation. The oily mucilage it produces helps lubricate the digestive tract and promotes mucous secretion.
Slippery elm’s astringent properties also tighten the lining of the digestive tract. This helps to further reduce inflammation.
As an added benefit, it contains fibre which feeds the beneficial bacteria in your pet's gut. This means it’s a prebiotic that supports normal gut function by feeding good bacteria.
It may seem strange that slippery elm can help both diarrhea and constipation. But like many fibrous plants, its main role is to regulate the digestive tract.
And that means it can help relieve and even prevent constipation too. That’s because of slippery elm’s soothing and laxative properties.
When your pet is constipated, their muscles have to work extra hard. Slippery elm soothes and lubricates the mucous membranes in their digestive tract. This helps to relax the muscles.
This herb can also act as a gentle laxative when your pet has worms. And it can ease the irritation worms cause in their digestive tract.
3. Other Digestive Issues
The anti-inflammatory properties of slippery elm don’t just help diarrhea and constipation. They can also relieve intestinal inflammation that accompanies other digestive issues, including…
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
Some professionals recommend slippery elm bark for heartburn or acid reflux.
When stomach acids flow back into the esophagus it can cause a painful burning sensation. That’s because the acid is damaging the lining of your pet's esophagus.
Slippery elm’s mucilage protects the esophagus from stomach acid to relieve heartburn.
Slippery elm can also protect the upper respiratory tract.
It lines the throat to ease discomfort from painful coughs. Like the kind associated with…
- Kennel cough
- Other respiratory infections
You may have even seen lozenges for humans with slippery elm as an ingredient. (But don’t give these lozenges to your pet because they may have other ingredients they shouldn’t have).
6. Transition From Kibble To Raw
If you want to switch to a raw diet, it can take some time for your pet's body to adjust. It’s important to go slow when you transition your pet. But even then…your pet may need extra support.
Slippery elm can soothe your pet's gut and help make this transition easier on them.
7. Urinary Tract
Some believe that slippery elm can also help the bladder.
It’s most often recommended for unexplained inflammation in the bladder. In fact, bladder and urinary tract infections are often just inflammation, rather than bacteria.
8. Skin Healing
Slippery elm is an astringent that dries and tightens tissue. That makes it useful to help dry oozing wounds and stop bleeding to help wounds heal faster.
If your pet has a burn, boil or oozing skin infection, apply slippery elm to the affected area.
9. Swallowing Too Soon
Dogs and cats can be gulpers. Has your pet ever almost choked by swallowing something a bit too big to go down?
If something like a bone gets stuck in their throat slippery elm gel or syrup can help it on its way through the digestive tract!
How To Give Slippery Elm To Your Pet
But first, a few cautions…
- When you look for a slippery elm product, find one that’s sustainably harvested. Slippery elm is in danger of over-harvesting.
- In rare cases, your pet may be allergic to slippery elm. Signs of allergies may include, hives, swelling, diarrhea, vomiting or itchiness.
- Don’t use it for pregnant dogs.
- Slippery elm can interfere with absorption because of the protective layer it forms. For this reason…it’s best to give slippery elm at least 3 hours away from other supplements.
Small pet…¼ capsule twice daily
Medium dog…½ capsule twice daily
Large dog…1 capsule once or twice daily
Mix the contents of the capsule into food or some yogurt.
Dosage: Give ¼ tsp of powder for every 10 lbs of body weight.
Mix the powder into food with some type of moisture or some yogurt.
Stir the powder dose (above) into some warm water and let it sit to thicken. You can give this to your pet as-is. If they don't want to eat it, you can syringe it into their mouth.
Mix 1 rounded teaspoon of slippery elm powder in 1 cup cold water. Bring to boil while you stir. Turn down heat, stir and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat, add 1 tbsp of honey and let it cool.
Under 25 lbs…1 to 2 tbsp four times daily
25-50 lbs…2 to 4 tbsp four times daily
50 lbs and over…¼ to ½ cup four times daily
Mix equal parts slippery elm powder, FOS (fructo-oligosaccharide) powder and L-Glutamine powder.
Small pet…1 tsp twice daily
Medium dog…2 tsp twice daily
Large dog…3 tsp twice daily
Giant dog…2 capsules daily
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that heals intestinal cells. If you wish to give your dog L-Glutamine alone, give 500 mg per 25 lbs of body weight per day.
For topical use, mix slippery elm powder with hot water to form a paste. Let it cool then spread it on a soft cotton cloth and place it over the affected area.
Alternatively, you can put the powder in cheesecloth or cotton. Tie off the fabric to make a sac and then soak in warm water. Gently press it on the wound until it cools.