Slippery Elm

Slippery Elm Benefits

Slippery Elm is a species of elm tree that has been used as an herbal remedy in North America for hundreds of years. It is extremely versatile, providing relief from a number of ailments, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and sore throats. Slippery Elm is also known as Ulmus fulma, Red Elm, Sweet Elm, Moose Elm, Indian Elm, Gray Elm, and Soft Elm.


Native to North America, Slippery Elm is a deciduous tree that can grow up to about 65 feet in height and 20 inches in diameter. It grows mostly in the Appalachian Mountains and the damp forests of eastern North America and southeastern Canada. As mentioned previously, another name for the tree is “Red Elm.” This is due to its reddish heartwood. With long, slender, and green leaves, the branches grow downward and also present densely-clustered flowers. A great thing about the tree is that it is very resistant to Dutch elm disease, which plagues other elms. However, it does have problems with Elm Leaf Beetles.

Slippery Elm Uses

Native Americans used Slippery Elm to create balms or salves to heal wounds, burns, ulcers, psoriasis and other skin conditions. They also used it orally to soothe sore throats, relieve coughs, and help with diarrhea and stomach issues. Slippery Elm was used during the American Revolution to help treat and soothe the wounds of soldiers. The tree is mentioned quite a bit in older literature and today it is widely discussed in alternative medicine writings and reports. Currently, there is little scientific research regarding Slippery Elm and its uses, but it is widely recommended to patients with various conditions.

Active Ingredients

Slippery Elm contains a substance called mucilage, which is a polysaccharide that becomes a gel when mixed with water. The mucilage comes from the inner bark of the tree and is a bit slippery and slimy, hence the name “Slippery Elm”. The mucilage does a good job of soothing and coating the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines, causing much relief from things like Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease (GERT), Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, diverticulitis, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Protect from Gastric Ulcers

Since many experts think it causes extra mucus production in the gastrointestinal tract, Slippery Elm may protect the tract from ulcers due to excess acid. It is rich in nutrients, including beneficial antioxidants that help relieve inflammation.

Slippery Elm Bark

The inner bark of the Slippery Elm is the part that is used to treat all of the mentioned ailments and even more. It is dried, ground, powdered, and used for medicinal purposes.

How to Take

Slippery Elm is available in the form of tablets, capsules, and lozenges. Finely powdered inner bark is used for soothing teas and a more coarse-ground bark is used for poultices. Slippery Elm can be combined with the bark of Wild Cherry, the leaves of a Sweet Gum, and mullein to make a very effective cough syrup. It can also help indigestion and heartburn when mixed with water and consumed. Blend some Slippery Elm with glycerin and apply to cuts, burns, other skin problems, or if you just want to keep your hands feeling soft and supple. Slippery Elm is reportedly greatly beneficial to those with bronchitis as it comforts the upper body as well.

Used This Herb? How Would You Rate It?

Current User Rating 7.8/10 Based On 43 Votes

Has Slippery Elm Worked For You?

This page is not a wiki so it is not editable like Wikipedia, however we would like to hear your information and comments and sometimes incorporate these into the articles.

Click Here To Post a Comment
Tara 's avatar  Tara 23/03/2015 19:41

Hi! I am doing a research paper on proper husbandry of our earth regarding herbs and I am using slippery elm as a potential for being endangered (depending on who is cited) due to Dutch elm disease... I see you state it is very resistant to DED, can you tell me where you found that information so I can include it in my paper? I'm so confused because there are so many different thoughts on this! Thanks!

Bernie   Mcbride 's avatar  Bernie Mcbride 13/11/2013 22:07

The last attack of colitus lasted for ten weeks Five days after I started on slippery elm the colitus was gone.That was five years ago.I take a heaped teaspoon every second night.

36 people liked this.
Emily BH 's avatar  Emily BH 05/02/2015 21:26

I've recommended it to friends and used it on my cats. It can be used externally on sores and pulls out toxins and relieves itching and speeds healing. Internally it soothes and normalizes the digestive tract and helps stop vomiting and diarrhea. I've used it frequently for those purposes with sick cats. It is my GO TO herb for so many things.

1 person liked this.
View All Slippery Elm Reviews and Comments