Many people use powdered slippery elm for medicinal purposes, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Traditionally, Native Americans used this herb topically to treat wounds and skin inflammation. Orally, slippery elm powder may relieve throat and stomach problems.
Slippery elm contains mucilage, which forms a gel that cannot be digested by humans, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. When applied topically, mucilage may soothe wounds. When taken orally, slippery elm powder may coat and soothe the digestive system, according to the UMMC. The antioxidant properties of slippery elm may also relax inflamed bowels. In addition, slippery elm may increase mucus production, which also protects the digestive tract.
Because of the fiber content, slippery elm powder can interfere with medications, according to MSKCC. Although slippery elm powder is considered safe, people who use this herb should seek advice from a healthcare professional.