Your location: Home > Wiki > Health, Herbs > Slippery Elm >

Slippery Elm

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 20, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)


Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) belongs to the species of elm and is native to the eastern parts of North America. It can also be called Red Elm, Gray Elm and Indian Elm. This is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 20 meters in height. It may look similar to the American Elm but it has a different pattern of branch and stem growth. The leaves are fairly long and may have a rough appearance; it has perfect flowers that are seen only during the early spring. It bears a fruit with a single seed inside.

The Slippery Elm is used in many herbal preparations by the Native American tribes. Almost all of the parts of the tree are used for their great therapeutic purposes. It is chiefly used for wounds, boils, burns and many other skin ailments.

History and Origin

The Slippery Elm has been in Native American tribes’ medicinal plant list for many centuries now and it is seen as an indispensable treatment for skin illnesses, skin ailments and as an effective relief for a variety of gastrointestinal disorders when it is drunk as a tea. The name Slippery Elm came about due to the color and appearance of its main branches.

Ancient Uses

In ancient times, the Native American tribes had a high regard for the Slippery Elm since it offers relief to wounds, burns, boils and many other skin diseases. It is used as a poultice and can be applied directly on the skin; it is also made into teas and tinctures for effective relief of gastrointestinal problems.

Modern Uses

In modern times, the Slippery Elm is used either alone or in combination with other herbs to promote better skin health. It is a cure for skin irritation, inflammation and also to treat wounds, burns, infections and many other skin related conditions.

The Slippery Elm is a perfect medication for coughs and colds, and can soothe irritating sore throats. When taken as a tea, it is beneficial in the treatment of gastrointestinal problems, stomach pain, indigestion, gas and diarrhea. It is an herb that stimulates the production of mucus in the gastrointestinal tract which is great in the treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers. The herb contains a lot of antioxidants that may offer cell renewal properties and may have anti aging properties as well.

The inner bark of the Slippery Elm is the part that is primarily used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. It can either be dried and powdered to make supplements or it can be combined with other herbs to enhance its therapeutic properties.

Side Effects

The outer bark of the Slippery Elm may cause miscarriage during pregnancy so it is certainly not advised for pregnant and even lactating women. The Slippery Elm is known to stimulate mucus and secretions in the gastrointestinal tract covering the stomach walls; it is advised to take other medications before using this herbal remedy to avoid drug interactions.

If you would like to try Slippery Elm remedies for your particular ailment you should first consult your doctor or a herbalist before using any supplement or herbal remedy. Always ask for the correct dosage for your condition and for any adverse reactions with your current medications.

Read also: Emulsifying Wax

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

Related Posts