Slippery elm is the common name of the Ulmus fulva tree native to North America, where it has been used medicinally for centuries. Powdered for use as a supplement, it is rich in nutrients and can be used as a soothing and nutritious food during convalescence. On contact with water, slippery elm becomes mucilaginous (gel like) which accounts for most of its medicinal properties. It has a soothing action on all mucous membranes including those of the digestive, respiratory and urinary tracts and soothes skin on contact. It also has astringent effects, tightening the surfaces it contacts, providing a barrier to bacterial infection and alleviating diarrhoea.