Slippery Elm


Parts used - the inner bark


Common Uses

  • Coats, protects and soothes inflamed mucus membranes in the throat, mouth and digestive tract.
  • Soothes sore and irritated throats
  • Helps to relieve coughs
  • Helps to relieve diarrhea, ulcers, heartburn and other gastric problems
  • Applied externally in a poultice it soothes and protects minor; wound, burns, boils and skin irritations. Also acts as a mild astringent.

How Slippery Elm Works

The inner bark of the Slippery Elm contains large amounts of mucilage. When this comes in contact with water it becomes spongy and is able to coat and protect mucus membranes. There are also polysaccharides, a kind of carbohydrate, in the bark and these also act as soothing agents.
The FDA has stated that the inner bark of the slippery elm is a safe and effective demulcent (soothing agent) for the relief of sore throats.


Side Effects
No major side effects are known at this time.
Some people may develop an irritation when using slippery elm on the skin. If this occurs discontinue use.


History of Slippery Elm The Slippery Elm is a large, stately tree native to the eastern areas of North America. It reaches heights of up to 60 feet, has broad, toothed leaves and deeply furrowed bark. The inner bark is glue-like and slightly fragrant. There were once great forests of Slippery Elms but sadly these were decimated by Dutch Elm disease.
Slippery Elm was a popular herbal remedy with the Native Americans and later with the settlers. They used it to soothe sore throats and coughs, and;also to treat stomach complaints including diarrhea and ulcers. It was also applied as a poultice to wounds, boils, sores and other skin problems.
A nutritious gruel can be made from the powder of the inner bark and this was given to anyone who was sick or recovering. This is still recommended today by many herbalists for convalescence.

Disclaimer: The information presented is for information purposes only. It is based on scientific studies or traditional usage. Consult a health care professional before using supplements or making any changes in prescribed medications. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease