Herb Reference Guide

Slippery Elm

History

Slippery Elm is related to the American Elm (Ulmus americana) and is sometimes also called Red, Gras, or Moose Elm. It can reach up to sixty feet in height and is native from Quebec to Florida and extends west to the Dakotas and Texas. It is susceptible to Dutch Elm disease which has taken out many of the Elm species once very prolific. The name developed due to the mucilaginous inner bark which pioneers in North America chewed for quenching thirst. Slimmer Elm was official in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1820-1936 as a demulcent and used in poultices for gunshot wounds by physicians during the American Revolution. The yolk of the Liberty Bell is made from Slippery Elm. It is important to note that American settlers learned about the uses of this tree from Native Americans.

Function

Slippery elm is mucilaginous and therefore a very good demulcent. Anywhere that it is necessary to add moisture or soothe irritated tissue Slippery Elm is indicated. It can be found in many natural throat lozenges. It can be used as a powder mixed into water, as a tea or infusion, in capsules, topically as a poultice, and as a liquid extract. It has been used to address digestive disturbances where it acts as a gentle supportive agent to the intestines and promotes healthy mucosal tissue.

Uses of Slippery Elm

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Mucilage

Parts Used

  • Inner bark

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

Braun, Lesley; Cohen, Marc (2006). Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide (2nd ed.). Churchill Livingstone. p. 586.