Medicine doesn’t have to taste gross or be filled with ingredients that a normal human cannot pronounce (let alone comprehend where they came from!). In fact, one of our first lines of medical help can be in the form of healing, all-natural products from plants we can identify outdoors that are made in our own kitchens with ingredients we trust. This is herbal medicine. It is people’s medicine.
The following recipe is for a fun, easy to make, and even easier to eat herbal ball that helps to calm digestive issues. Eat too much? Have heartburn? Feeling a general sense of malaise in your digestive region? Give a slippery elm ball a try!
Even beyond the short-term digestive disruptions just mentioned, slippery elm can also be used as an ally in easing distress associated with more chronic digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and colitis.
Slippery elm is derived from the inner bark of the North American elm tree (Ulcus fulva). This plant has been used medicinally for hundreds of years, and Native Americans were also familiar with its healing properties. This plant is effective because of its highly mucilaginous nature. This means that inflammation and pain are reduced when slippery elm forms a soothing, protective coating on our digestive organs. I like to think of slippery elm wrapping my insides with a cooling, comforting blanket. And she does help!
**Ready to read on? I first must ask that if you choose to incorporate slippery elm into your medicine chest, make sure you buy this herb from a trustworthy source. There are ways to sustainably harvest slippery elm, but there are also people who do so in an environmentally deleterious fashion. Do your research before purchasing herbs.**
Making your own balls is easy! Start with an ounce of slippery elm powder. I purchased mine from a local herb store, but I know that Mountain Rose Herbs also sells sustainably harvested products.
Add about 1/8 – 1/4 cup of honey (also a very healing substance!) and prepare to get a little sticky.
Mix everything with your hands until you have formed a ball. Break off fat blueberry-sized bits and line them up on waxed paper. You also have the option of dipping them into cocoa or carob powder to relieve any remaining stickiness.
Let them air dry for 24 hours and they will keep on the shelf indefinitely (this might be difficult if your kitchen is too humid), or the balls can also be placed in the refrigerator. The honey helps to keep them fresh for a very long time, but I bet you won’t have any trouble using these up before long!
Take one as needed. (And yes, they taste good, too!)
Just as a final note, the FDA has approved the use of slippery elm as a demulcent, but to my knowledge it has not been evaluated in pregnant or nursing women. And of course, you are responsible for your own health. I am not medically prescribing or advising you to do anything.
Here are some other resources to learn more about slippery elm:
Cheers to your green health!