Wednesday, March 10, 2010

herbal medicine first aid kit. slippery elm balls!

oh how i love slippery elm!!! it's a tree that is native to north america and it's inner bark is used as medicine. it's a fantastically mucousy herb that gets things slippin' and slidin' inside the body... ever feel like you just need to be internally lubed up??? slippery elm is for you. traditionally used to soothe upset stomachs, sore throats, coughs and to get things moving (as in "get things moving wink wink") or to calm an acid stomach, slippery elm helps heal internal mucosal tissue, thus anything that you can generally think of as being lined with a mucous layer -- as in throat, stomach and vagina can be aided with the bark of this tree. while the mucilage of the plant moistens and soothes, the tannins of the plant act as an astringent and generally have an anti-inflammatory effect. tannins are also able to form a protective layer over exposed tissue, so as you might imagine, this can be quite soothing to something that is sore or burning or irritated. i like to make slippery elm balls and dissolve them in my mouth like a lozenge when i have a sore throat or irritated tummy. they are pretty easy to make, so i thought i'd share the recipe. slippery elm balls are a great thing to carry in an herbal medicine first aid kit and as this blog progresses i will write about other things to add to your kit. the titles of these blogs will always begin with "herbal medicine first aid kit." you can put together your kit for road trips, travel, home, camping and your purse or backpack. look for more blogs soon!

for now here's something fun to make and keep handy. if you have kids, it's a fun activity for the fam!

first you're gonna need to track down some slippery elm bark powder at your local herb store or online. online, i recommend mountain rose herbs then you're gonna need to track down some honey. i recommend finding a local source.

take a bowl, add some slippery elm powder to the bowl and then begin to add honey a little at a time until the mixture becomes dense enough and sticky enough to roll into small lozenge sized balls -- you're gonna put these in your mouth and allow them to dissolve so keep this in mind as you roll! you can make a few or many depending on how much powder you use, but either way these will store indefinitely, as honey is antibacterial and has a very long shelf life. let your slippery elm balls sit for a day and then store them in an airtight container. for portability, you can put some in an altoids tin or something like it and throw them in a purse or bag -- then you'll always be ready when someone says, "my stomach hurts" or "my throat is sore!"

there are other more complicated recipes you may find online or in herb books for slippery elm balls or lozenges, but i like to keep it simple and medicinally, this recipe works great!



  1. your blog is rich with amazing information! it's blowing my mind. i love this idea and i am hoping that looking at your blog will help me become less intimidated by working with herbs. i like how you make everything seem so doable and not necessarily easy, but fun, interesting and approachable.

  2. wow! thanks!!!!! i've been looking at your blog too and i love the wood house photos you posted. i wish i could live in a house like that!!!!

  3. Your post is really very informative.I really enjoyed your post very much.