Herbs are so important in my dogs every day life. There are a few herbs I am never without – Calendula, Oregano, Turmeric, Plantain and a few others. But one of the most important and one you are forever grateful you have on hand when you need it is Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra).
Slippery Elm has been used in herbal medicine for years. It contains valuable nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fat a many other beneficial goodies. It’s a very safe and nontoxic herb that is often used to treat upset stomach and diarrhea. Adding water to Slippery Elm powder, which makes a thick mucilage, almost like a gruel, is so nutrient dense it can be used as an emergency food, especially when nothing else will stay down. Matter of fact General George Washington’s troops survived on nothing but a gruel made from Slippery Elm bark during their time in Valley Forge. It was also one of the original ingredients in Essiac tea. A tea made from various herbs and often used to treat humans and pets with cancer.
The most common ways to buy Slippery Elm is in powder and capsule form. It’s made from the inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree. While the inner bark is softer than the tough outer bark, it can still be difficult to make into a powder at home, so just save yourself the trouble and buy it already in powder form.
So what is Slippery Elm Used For?
Diarrhea – It’s anti-inflammatory properties along with it’s demulcent(mucilage forming) properties help to reduce inflammation while also coating and lubricating the digestive tract
Constipation – Yes it does seem odd that it can help with both diarrhea and constipation but it does! The lubricating action helps to relieve constipation as well as prevent any future issues.
Bronchitis/Cough – Slippery Elm is thought to relieve inflammation of any mucous membrane so it also works to soothe a cough from ailments such as bronchitis and kennel cough.
Wound Healing – Slippery Elm can also be used externally to assist with wound healing, insect bites, hot spots and other various skin ailments. Just mix the powder with some cold water to form a paste or poultice. Apply to the wound or affected area, and allow to dry. Native Americans also use Slippery Elm to stop minor bleeding. After the bleeding has stopped you can easily remove with water.
How much should I give my dog?
That depends if you are using capsules or powdered form. I personally prefer the powder form because I can buy it in bulk which is usually cheaper and I don’t have to mess with capsules.
Capsule – ¼ capsule for small dogs
½ capsule for medium dogs
1 full capsule once or twice daily for large dogs.
Mix with food or some yogurt.
Powder – The general dosage is ¼ teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. You can add it directly to food or add it to some yogurt.
Precautions – Although Slippery Elm is a very safe herb some dogs can be allergic. It should not be given to pregnant animals. Also Slippery Elm is thought to interfere with the absorption of medications so check with your veterinarian first before using.
Slippery Elm is one of those herbs that should be in everyone’s home herbal cabinet. From diarrhea to wound healing this herb does it all!