Can Slippery Elm Relieve A Sore Throat?

Also known as red elm or gray elm, amongst other names, slippery elm is a tree that can be found in northeast North America (via Medical News Today). Able to grow more than 50 feet tall, the plant is thought to potentially offer some unique health benefits, according to experts at Mount Sinai. Ulcers, burns, wounds, and boils were commonly treated with slippery elm by Native Americans. Currently available as lozenges, capsules, tablets, and more, slippery elm may be helpful in treating certain health conditions.

Giving off a mild yet marked aroma, the bark of the slippery elm tree is where the goodies lie. The inside bark of the tree harbors a compound known as mucilage. When combined with water, it changes into a smooth, viscous, gel-like substance. By coating the lining of the stomach and intestines, slippery elm may help relieve gastrointestinal discomfort. Furthermore, its antioxidant properties may also help alleviate inflammatory bowel conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). But can slippery elm also work wonders on other areas of the body — specifically, a sore throat?

Slippery elm should be taken under doctor supervision

While there are limited studies to confirm all of the purported health benefits of slippery elm, it is possible that ingesting slippery elm in the form of a tincture or tea may help ease the discomfort of a sore throat, reports Medical News Today. Similar to how slippery elm can coat the insides of the stomach and intestines, its mucilage also has the potential to layer the throat, thus alleviating irritation of the area.

How much slippery elm one should take can vary based on weight, according to experts at Mount Sinai. Therefore, the administration of slippery elm to children should be carefully monitored by a physician. While not thought to be dangerous when taken as instructed, experts note that there are still potential health risks associated with taking slippery elm (per Medical News Today). For instance, slippery elm may potentially interact with other medications or slow absorption time due to its coating effects within the stomach and intestines, notes Mount Sinai. As a result, slippery elm is best taken either two hours prior or two hours after any other medications or supplements. The outside bark of the plant may also pose a risk to those who are pregnant or breastfeeding and should not be taken. Overall, it is advised to consult with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements, including slippery elm.