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iStock_000012139597XSmall@Suzanne- Throat Comfort is certainly a popular and effective herbal tea.
One of the active ingredients in this tea is an herb that does not get much attention, it should! Slippery elm, despite the scarceness of scientific research behind it, is an old and respected North American remedy.

The tree is a species of elm native to eastern North America, from North Dakota to Florida. This tall deciduous tree is similar to the American elm in general appearance and is generally found along streams or on small, stony hills.

Native Americans made canoes, baskets and other household goods from the tree and its bark. The stringy inner bark produces a strong and durable fiber, which can be spun into thread or rope. It was used for bow strings, jewelry, clothing, snowshoe bindings, woven mats and musical instruments. The colonists caught on and applied the wood for the hubs of wagon wheels.

The inner, slippery bark is rich in nutrients, including edible starches, so it can actually serve as a survival food. When George Washington’s army was stranded in Valley Forge during the winter of 1977, it turned out that they were encamped in a slippery elm forest, and were able to live off gruel of the nourishing bark and survive the Pennsylvania winter. They also treated gunshots with healing applications of the bark.

Slippery elm has a soothing, slimy bark that is widely used internally to soothe throats. Its action is similar to marshmallow root, so these two mucilaginous herbs can be used together or individually. Slippery elm lozenges are common and great way to enjoy its soothing nature.

The inner bark of the slippery elm softens by absorbing water, so herbal tea is the perfect preparation to consume it. Enjoy the soothing effect as it slides down your throat. Ah, relief!

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The Tea Talk Blog is written by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Yogi herbalist with over 40 years experience.
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