Recently my son was experiencing a sore throat which was then diagnosed as tonsillitis and, thankfully, negative for strep. I decided, amongst other palliative tools we were using, to make him aromatic slippery elm lozenges. I chose slippery elm specifically for its power to soothe and moisten the tissue of the throat and to reduce irritation (inflammation).
Slippery elm’s actions can be attributed to the high mucilage content of the inner bark. Mucilage is a polysaccharide matrix that soothes and coats the mucous membranes. Through a reduction in heat and dryness, the moisten properties of slippery elm can combat tissue inflammation.
Sustainability and Slippery Elm
Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra Muhl.) is one of the most well-known, and widely used, medicinal tree barks native to the United States. It is currently included on the United Plant Savers “At-Risk” List due to concerns over the continued industry dependence on wild harvested material to fill market demand.
– United Plant Savers
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I also chose to add one drop of cypress essential oil to each lozenge. Cypress essential oil is indicated for sore throats and can be beneficial supporting the body in fighting infections, particularly those of the respiratory system.
- Powdered Slippery Elm bark
- Tea (infusion or decoction)*
- Cypress essential oil (Cupressus sempervirens, Cupressaceae)
I made a tea utilizing a lavender/German chamomile tea from Traditional Medicinals.
- Glass bowl
- Glass measuring cup: use one that can hold 2 cups to have room for stirring tea & honey.
- Two spoons
- Parchment paper
- 1 inch or less circular biscuit cutter or a cardboard tube with both holes open (the kind we use for lip balm or body butter), or cap of bottle (this works but it’s kind of a pain to get the lozenge out)
- 1 cup powdered slipper elm bark
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup tea (could use a hydrosol in place of tea)
Instructions to make:
- Place slippery elm powder into glass bowl,
- Warm honey. This can be done by placing the jar of honey in a pot with hot water or running a small jar under hot water at the sink. You could also measure the honey in a glass Pyrex and place that in the post of hot water. It’s invaluable to warm the honey to make working with it much easier.
- Using glass measuring cup, measure honey and then add in ¼ cup of tea (or hydrosol). Stir until well combined.
- Create a hole in the middle of the slippery elm and pour honey/tea mix into the hole.
- Fold the slippery elm powder into the liquid using a stainless-steel spoon. This becomes a bit tricky quickly due to the stickiness of the honey. This is why I use two spoons, one to stir and the other to wipe off the first spoon as powdery honey sticks to it.
- Once mix seems well combined you may find you need to add a bit more of the honey/tea mix to add more moisture. Make a bit extra so you have some to use at this stage.
- You may also use your hands in the final stages. Just make sure you have washed your hands, perhaps even used a hand sanitizer. You could also wear gloves.
- Make a small ball of the mix (using your hands is best at this phase) and then place it between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Using the roller, roll the mix so it is approximately ¼+ inches thick.
- Using a tube or circular cutter, make the lozenges until there is no more space in the rolled-out mix.
- You can then create a small bowl of the left-over mix, roll out as in #7 and create more lozenges or you can choose to make little balls that can also be lozenges.
- Place each lozenge onto a drying screen (like you use for cookies) or plate or on a piece of parchment paper. Allow lozenges to air dry for 24-48 hours.
- Just before the lozenges are ready to go into container, place one drop of cypress essential oil onto each lozenge.*
- Store lozenges in glass jar. Be sure to label with all ingredients.
*You can choose to place drop of cypress essential oil just before using lozenge.
How to use:
Place one lozenge on tongue and allow the lozenge to ‘dissolve’. It won’t dissolve completely but allow it to become softened, then chew a little bit, allow to ‘dissolve’ a bit more, then you can chew what remains and swallow.
Recommended: 2-4 lozenges during acute phase. Can be used as needed.
Shelf life: 1-2 months
Ethical Suppliers of Slippery Elm Powder