Slippery elm side effects

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What is Slippery Elm?

The slippery elm tree is native to eastern Canada and eastern and central US, where it is found most commonly in the Appalachian mountains. The trunk is reddish brown with gray-white bark on the branches. In the spring, dark brown floral buds appear and open into small, clustered flowers at the branch tips. White elm (U. americana) is a related species used in a similar manner.

Scientific Name(s)

Ulmus rubra. Also known as U. fulva.

Common Name(s)

Slippery elm also is known as red elm, Indian elm, moose elm, and sweet elm.

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

North American Indians and early settlers used the inner bark of the slippery elm not only to build canoes, shelter, and baskets, but as a poultice or as a soothing drink. Upon contact with water, the inner bark, collected in spring, yields a thick mucilage or demulcent that was used as an ointment or salve to treat urinary tract inflammation and was applied topically for cold sores and boils. A decoction of the leaves was used as a poultice to remove discoloration around blackened or bruised eyes. Surgeons during the American Revolution treated gun-shot wounds in this manner. Early settlers boiled bear fat with the bark to prevent rancidity. Late in the 19th century, a preparation of elm mucilage was officially recognized in the United States Pharmacopoeia.


Slippery elm prepared as a poultice coats and protects irritated tissues such as skin or intestinal membranes. The powdered bark has been used in this manner for local application to treat gout, rheumatism, cold sores, wounds, abscesses, ulcers, and toothaches. The tannins present are known to possess astringent actions. It also has been known to “draw out” toxins, boils, splinters, or other irritants.

Powdered bark is incorporated into lozenges to provide demulcent action (soothing to mucous membranes) in the treatment of throat irritation. It also is used for its emollient and antitussive actions, to treat bronchitis and other lung afflictions, and to relieve thirst.

GI/Urogenital effects

When slippery elm preparations are taken internally, they cause reflex stimulation of nerve endings in the GI tract, leading to mucus secretion. This may be the reason they are effective for protection against stomach ulcers, colitis, diverticulitis, gut inflammation, and acidity. Slippery elm also is useful for diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, and to expel tapeworms. It also has been used to treat cystitis and urinary inflammations.

Other uses

The plant also is used as a lubricant to ease labor, as a source of nutrition for convalescence or baby food preparations, and for its activity against herpes and syphilis.

What is the recommended dosage?

Slippery elm inner bark has been used for treatment of ulcers at doses of 1.5 to 3 g/day. It is commonly decocted with ethyl alcohol. No formal clinical studies support this dosage.


Contraindications have not yet been identified.


Documented abortive effects. Avoid use.


None well documented.

Side Effects

Extracts from slippery elm have caused contact dermatitis, and the pollen has been reported to be allergenic.


The FDA has declared slippery elm to be a safe and effective oral demulcent.

1. Slippery Elm. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 . 2004. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 23, 2007.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Medical Disclaimer

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Related treatment guides

  • Oral and Dental Conditions
  • Cold Sores
  • Gout
  • Herbal Supplementation
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is it?

Slippery Elm is the name of a tree from the great Elm family that is native to North America. The part used in medicine is the powdered inner bark. Note that it is important to only use Slippery Elm bark from trees that have been sustainably harvested as this is a herb that has become increasingly endangered.




How has it been used?

Slippery Elm has been extensively used in herbal medicine for many centuries. It has pronounced nourishing and healing properties

TJ Lyle writes ‘The inner bark of Slippery Elm forms one of the best demulcents for both internal and external use wherever there is an irritated condition. In constipation, dysentery, diarrhoea or cholera infantum, used both orally or by rectal injection it lubricates, soothes and relieves the intestinal irritation. It is a nutritious demulcent, soothing to the mucous membrane wherever needed and quieting to the nervous system.
Slippery Elm is one of the most valuable articles in the botanic practice and should be in every household. The finely powdered bark makes an excellent gruel or food and may be used as such in all cases of weakness, inflammation of the stomach, bronchitis, bleeding of the lungs, consumption etc.. It has a wonderfully soothing and healing action on all the parts it comes in contact with and in addition possesses as much nutrition as is contained in oatmeal. The food or gruel should be made as follows: Take a teaspoonful of the powder, mix well with the same quantity of powdered sugar and add 1 pint boiling water slowly, mixing as it is poured on. This may be flavoured with cinnamon or nutmeg to suit the taste and makes a very wholesome and sustaining food for infants.
The coarse powder forms the finest poultice to be obtained for all inflamed surfaces, ulcers, wounds, burns, boils, skin diseases, purulent ophthalmia, chilblains etc. It soothes the parts, disperses the inflammation, draws out impurities, and heals speedily. We cannot speak too highly of this remedy and are confident there is nothing to equal it in the world for its above-mentioned uses. Inflammation in the bowels of infants and adults has been cured when all other remedies have failed, by an injection into the bowels of an infusion of 1 ounce of powdered bark to a pint of boiling water, used while warm’

King’s Dispensatory writes ‘Slippery elm bark is a very valuable remedial agent in mucous inflammations of the lungs, bowels, stomach, bladder, or kidneys. It is also highly beneficial in diarrhoea, dysentery, coughs, pleurisy, strangury, and sore throat, in all of which it tends powerfully to allay the inflammation. A tablespoonful of the powder boiled in a pint of new milk, affords a nourishing diet for infants weaned from the breast, preventing the bowel complaints to which they are subject, and rendering them fat and healthy. Elm bark has likewise been successfully employed externally in cutaneous diseases, especially in obstinate cases of herpetic and syphilitic eruptions’

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia (BHP) describes the actions of Slippery Elm as ‘demulcent, emollient, nutritive, antitussive’. It says it is indicated for ‘inflammation or ulceration of stomach or duodenum. Convalescence. Colitis. Diarrhoea. Locally for boils, abscesses and ulcers as a poultice’ and specifically indicated for ‘gastric or duodenal ulceration’. The BHP recommends a dose of 4 grams in 500mls boiling water or the powdered bark 1:8 as a decoction.

Thomas Bartram writes that the actions of Slippery Elm include ‘soothing demulcent, nutrient, expectorant, antitussive. Topically as an emollient. The addition of a few grains of powder or drops of tincture of Myrrh enhances its antiseptic and healing action. Long lasting antacid barrier. Contains an abundance of mucilage’.
Bartram suggests uses for it including ‘inflammation or ulceration anywhere along the digestive tract. Gastric or duodenal ulcer, acute or chronic dyspepsia and wind, diverticulosis, colitis, before a journey to allay travel sickness, summer diarrhoea in children (also as an enema) irritable bowel. Its blanketing action protects the gastric mucosa from the erosive effects of too much acid. Gastro-oesophageal reflux is one of the most common causes of dyspepsia; Slippery Elm powder protects the oesophageal mucosa and relieves pain of indigestion. Lasting protection against acid reflux. Suppresses acid production during the night when mucosal damage may occur. Together with carminatives such as Chamomile or Ginger it allays abdominal distension, reflux oesophagitis and hiatus hernia. Of value during convalescence, cachexia and wasting diseases.
Bartram recommends powdered Slippery Elm capsules (400mgs) taken freely (i.e. as many as required) or taken as a food (gruel) mixed into a paste before adding boiling water or milk; quarter to half a tsp to each cup, sprinkle powder on to porridge or muesli. The poultice made by mixing 1-2 tsps into a little water and spread over the dressing.

Andrew Chevallier writes ‘this marvellous herb is a gentle and effective remedy for irritated states of the mucous membranes of the chest, urinary tubules, stomach and intestines. It was used in many different ways by Native Americans; as a poultice for wounds, boils, ulcers and inflamed eyes, and internally for fevers, colds, and bowel complaints. Slippery Elm has a strongly mucilaginous ‘slippery’ taste and texture’


Science on Slippery Elm

As Andrew Chevallier writes ‘there is limited research into Slippery Elm, but its action as a herb with large quantities of mucilage is well understood. When the herb comes into direct contact with inflamed surfaces such as the skin or the intestinal membranes, it soothes and coats the irritated tissue, protects it from injury, and draws out toxins or irritants.
When Slippery Elm is taken internally, it is thought likely that it causes a reflex stimulation of nerve endings in the stomach and intestines that leads to secretion of mucus by the membranes of urinary tract’ (Hence it may allay the symptoms of cystitis and urethritis)

Safety of Slippery Elm
Slippery Elm is super safe for people to use, young or old, and in pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, because of its remarkably high mucilage content, it should be noted that other herbs or drugs that are taken at the same time as any quantity of Slippery Elm may have a delayed absorption into the body.

The only real safety concerns are those to be had for the tree itself! As also mentioned at the top of the page; Note that it is important to only use Slippery Elm bark from trees that have been sustainably harvested as this is a herb that has become increasingly endangered.

General comment on herbal safety
All medicinal herbs that have the power to do good have the potential to do harm. The old maxim ‘the poison is in the dose’ precisely describes how too much of anything can be bad for us. The ancient rule to ‘firstly, do no harm is, to this day, held as the core directive by all practitioners of traditional herbal medicine. Not only are we careful to do our best to use the right herbs, but equally we take care to not give too much of them or use them overlong.

For some years now, against this proven and safe way of herbalism, there has been a rising tide of excessive caution and scare-mongering in many parts of the world. The same authorities that, not so long ago, decried herbal medicines as ineffectual, have now taken up a different adversarial position; that they are dangerous substances that should only be prescribed by Doctors, who of course have zero training in them.
Lists of ’10 popular herbs and why you should avoid them’ include things like Garlic and Ginger that might ‘thin your blood’. Such cautions are absurd to the point of the ridiculous, but fear is a universal driver that has long been proven to be effective at manipulating people.

Unfortunately, the same unnecessary fear and worry has crept into many natural health websites and popular publications on herbs. Herbs that we have safely used for thousands of years, that have no reports of adverse reactions in the medical literature despite widespread use by millions of people, are suddenly described as contraindicated because of something that should have been seen as completely unimportant, or at the utmost a merely theoretical concern, such as a laboratory study on one of the herb’s constituents to use an all too common example.

I wonder sometimes if the writers of such articles feel that the herb will be more deserving of respect if it is thought to be a little bit dangerous, in other words more like a drug than something that has simply come out of the earth and been used by ordinary people for generations beyond count.

There is just so much misinformation about herbal medicine on the internet now. Ludicrous claims and cautions abound in equal measure; it seems like one group are trying to make money out of the public whilst the other are busily trying to scare them off.

I have to believe that the kind of reader who takes the time to read pages on herbs that are as extensive as this one is much less likely to be swayed by marketers or misinformers. I hope that you will keep your wits about you if you get conflicting opinions from people who have never really got to know these herbs, who have never worked with them, or learned how to use them safely and effectively.

I want to remind you that the reason that herbs can never be patented and owned by any individual or corporation is because they are, and always will be, the People’s medicine. They belong to all of us and it is my great hope in sharing this work that you will learn how to use them wisely for yourself, and the people you care for. Be safe, but do not be afraid.


Personal experiences

In modern herbal practice, Slippery Elm’s two main uses are as a drawing agent when used as an external poultice and as an internal bandage for inflammation or ulceration anywhere along the digestive tract

Slippery Elm in a drawing poultice is a thing to behold. It is quite remarkable how it forms a gelatinous, gooey mass that soothingly sits there but then also hoovers up foreign material or damaged tissue.

Slippery Elm as an internal bandage is surely where it has provided its most dramatic healing affects and this is the method with which I have most of my own experience in using the herb.

If someone has actual physical damage to a part of their digestive tract then I will often use Slippery Elm as the first choice. As much as there may well be other agents that could be beneficial that do not have the same issues of scarcity that we have with Slippery Elm I just do not know anything that can help bandage an internal wound so quickly and effectively (in our own clinic we have found a supplier that certifies the herb is harvested sustainably).

You need to visualise what Slippery Elm does whilst it is in the gut to get a good feel for how to use it. Slippery Elm makes a wet, gooey, sticky mess if you dilute it and leave it to set and so, as it slowly slides down through the digestion on its way to being eliminated, it is able to make a gentle, soothing and effective bandage.

As soon as a person gets a significant inflammation in their gut lining, it physically changes the surface tissues to become rough, red and sore, rather like a graze. Slippery Elm is able to stick to those sore parts, at least for a while, and so give the tissues a much-needed rest from further abrasion as material works its way through the digestive tract.

However, the bandage can’t stick there forever which is why we can need to use a frequent dose of Slippery Elm, at least in the beginning, because the longer the damaged gut surfaces stay bandaged, the faster they can heal, and gut tissue can heal quickly when it is given a chance.

The gut lining is just like the external skin, in that it is constantly shedding and replacing itself. It has to be like this because it is subjected to so many stresses. If you can keep that wound or graze well bandaged for long enough, which is often just a few days, then everything can quickly turn around for the good.

It is recommended to use enough Slippery Elm to form a bandage and to use it as frequently and for as long as needed. In practical terms this means I may be prescribing a heaped tsp in a slurry or a gruel anywhere from once to multiple times a day.
If I think the patient may struggle too much with taking it as a powder then the alternative is to use capsules, but here you need at least 4 at a time to get close to how much a heaped tsp of the powder would give. Again, the dose frequency may be crucial to a rapid and effective response; anything from once to multiple times a day, for a few days, if needed.
More about the important subject of dosage and how to best take it below


Dosage methods

Taking Slippery Elm as a powder has its challenges, more about this next, but it means that, for at least some people, capsules are the most convenient method to take Slippery Elm when it needs to be used on a frequent basis (i.e. more than once a day).
The standard dose for an adult is 4 capsules at a time and, especially as this may need to be repeated two, three, four or even more times a day, at least for a few days, it will help if the person is reasonably adept at swallowing a few capsules at a time. This is most easily done by simply focusing the attention on drinking a glass of room-temperature water with anything from 2 all the way up to 4 capsules in the mouth at the same time. A person who has always had to take just one pill or capsule at a time may think it impossible to swallow a few capsules at once but they really will just slip down if they don’t overly focus on them and likewise resists the temptation to tilt their head back thus narrowing the neck. It is all a matter of where the attention is directed, we swallow larger amounts of food every time we eat.

Capsules are tasteless and easy to swallow with a little practice. However, if the condition is quite bad and the area of damage in the gut is quite large, it may be best to use the Slippery Elm as a powder, either in a slurry or cooked in a gruel as described next.

One well-heaped tsp of Slippery Elm powder equates to about 5 grams of herb and this would be equivalent to about 10-12 capsules at a time. However, not everyone will be able to take such a large dose in a powdered form, or need to take so much and, given that the soothing action of Slippery Elm should be felt rapidly, the best way to know whether capsules or powder is necessary is simply to try and see. If it works, you were taking enough, if it doesn’t take a higher dose.
The technique is to put a tsp, and how much you put on the tsp, less or more, may be according to how adapted you are to taking the herb in this method as well as how bad the condition is, then get water running at a temperature that will be easy to drink and then add the water to the powder whilst rapidly stirring to mix it in. If you have ever needed to mix flour into water or milk then you will know the technique of just starting with a small amount of liquid, and then not adding any more until you have been able to get the powder well spread out into it, then adding more liquid while you vigorously keep stirring.
Depending on the amount of powder and the success of your mixing technique, you should be able to dilute the whole lot in the first glass, but you must make sure you drink the slurry quickly, because the longer you leave it the thicker it will get! Slippery Elm has a distinctive taste and a markedly ‘slippery’ texture, but most people do not find it inherently unpleasant, just a little challenging to get used to. This process, like everything, gets easier with practice.

The slurry is the fastest way to take a large dose, but it will not suit everyone or be palatable to all so, especially if the need is pressing, the traditional method of making Slippery Elm into a gruel, i.e. cooking and eating it, may be the best method to get the largest doses for the most rapid benefit. The gruel of Slippery Elm is certainly very effective and, if made correctly, is perfectly palatable.
Making Slippery Elm gruel is just like making a thin porridge, put one or two heaped teaspoons, or more if needed, of Slippery Elm Into a saucepan, add a liquid, either milk or water, to make a paste and then, whilst heating the mixture over a low flame or element, gradually add more milk, water or both until the desired consistency has been achieved.
Slippery Elm can absorb a lot of liquid and, as gruels are meant to be thin, you can add more liquid as you go if it is getting too thick. I think that it would be essential to add some honey or sugar to the gruel, perhaps at least one tsp of at least one of them. Some further flavouring, such as with a little cinnamon or nutmeg, will likely make it all the more palatable. When finished, eat.
I have also had patients use the Slippery Elm gruel in combination with oats or rice porridge and this is also completely fine. In whatever way you get this herb into the body, so long as it is there in a sufficient amount, it will form a healing bandage for at least a while. Repeat the effective dose as often as needed until healing has occurred.

Ulmus fulva (Slippery Elm tree)


Constitutional note

Much of the information here about the traditional uses of Slippery Elm is consistent with the model of thinking whereby one may treat problem A with plant B. There is value in this approach, especially in how it helps us pass on useful knowledge to one another, but it falls short in one vital area; and that is that people are not all cut from the same cloth! Something that works brilliantly for one person may do less for another- why is this?

Part of the reason is that people vary in their constitutions as to whether they are either hotter or cooler and, at the same time, either dryer or damper. This useful and rather fascinating subject is introduced further here

Another big part of using the right herb when it is most needed comes from understanding the need to treat what is going wrong for the person that had led up to their getting a health condition. In this light, Slippery Elm can particularly offer its benefits when a nourishing action is needed in the ‘cycle of healing’, more about this here

Please understand that I cannot advise you, including on products or dosage, without seeing you in person in my clinic but for ideas on how you might find a good herbalist in your area read here
This living ‘book’ is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!


Why do people take slippery elm?

Slippery elm has not been well-studied. There’s some evidence that it may help with certain cold symptoms. One study found that sucking on slippery elm lozenges may help ease a sore throat.

Slippery elm contains mucilage. This is a sticky substance that can’t be digested. Mucilage seems to help improve bowel regularity. A small amount mixed in water to make a slurry is ingested for digestive problems. Slippery elm may help people with constipation due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), one small study showed. More research is needed. Some people also use slippery elm powder in water to soothe heartburn and mild stomach discomfort.

A small amount mixed in water to make a slurry is ingested for digestive problems.

Some people use slippery elm ointments to soothe skin ulcers and cold sores. There’s not enough research to know if they really help.

Slippery elm is an ingredient in an herbal cancer treatment called Essiac. There’s no evidence that it has any benefit, though, and it may actually decrease physical well-being.

Standard doses of slippery elm have not been set for any condition. Ingredients in supplements may vary widely. This makes it very hard to set a standard dose.

The Liver.

Its Functions, and the Treatment of its Diseases.

The Liver is really a part of the digestive apparatus, since it produces the bile, which is one of the digestive juices. It is the largest gland in the body, weighing, from 50 to 60 ounces avoirdupois, and is placed just below the diaphragm on the right side, extending also across the middle line of the body towards the left side. Its front border reaches just below the border of the chest when a person is sitting or standing, but when the person lies down the liver passes slightly up, so as to be completely under cover of the ribs, except for a small portion lying beyond the lower end of the breastbone. In women the liver is often permanently displaced and forced out of cover of the ribs through tight-lacing. This causes crowding in the abdomen and pelvic cavity, and may serve to displace other organs, notably the womb. When a small piece of liver is examined under a microscope it is found to consist mainly of a large number of many-sided cells, containing a large nucleus and a nucleolus. The cells of the liver take from the blood flowing past them certain materials from which they prepare the bile. This is discharged into the surrounding ducts, and then passes into larger ducts, which collect the bile from numerous lobules. These ducts unite with others from other parts of the liver until, in the end, two channels are formed, one of which carries all the bile formed by the right portion of the liver, and the other that formed by the left portion. These two channels come out from the substance of the liver, uniting into one main vessel—the hepatic duct which passes towards the small intestine. On the under-surface of the liver is the gall-bladder, in which the bile may be stored till needed for assisting digestion. From the gall-bladder the cystic duct joins the duct from the liver, and the common bile-duct is formed: reaching to the first part of the small intestine (called the “duodenum”), through the walls of which it passes, to open on the inner surface a few inches below the stomach. The bile, prepared in the depths of the liver by the liver cells, is conveyed out of the liver by the bile-ducts, and may pass straight down and into the small intestine, to mingle with the food therein. If, however, digestion is not going on, the mouth of the bile-duct is closed, and in that case the bile passes up the cystic duct and lodges in the gall-bladder till required.

The part the liver plays in the digestive process is, however, only one of its duties, and it is advisable to have a complete view of all the functions of the liver in order to estimate the great importance of that organ in the bodily economy. As we have seen, it secretes the bile, and therefore ranks—

(1) As a secretory organ, elaborating a fluid for use in the body. But the bile is not only a digestive fluid. It aids in the digestive process, and it also contains ingredients which are separated from the blood for the purpose of being cast out of the body, because their remaining in the blood would impair its quality. In respect of this the liver ranks—

(2) As an excretory organ, separating material of no use to the body, which is ultimately expelled as waste matter. This will be more easily understood by noting in detail the constituents of bile. It contains, roughly, 86 per cent. water and 14 per cent. solid matter. The solid matter consists of the bile salts, the glycocholate and taurocholate of soda, of colouring matters, of fats, and of inorganic salts, chiefly chloride of sodium (common salt), with a smaller quantity of phosphates, and traces of iron and manganese, also of a crystalline substance called cholesterin, a substance found in the brain, and very likely brought to the liver by the blood. There is also in bile a considerable quantity of mucus, obtained from the bile-ducts and gall-bladder.

Of these, the chief are the bile salts, and the colouring matters—the bile pigments. They do not exist already formed in the blood, as do the salts and the cholesterin, and must be formed from materials in the blood by the activity of the liver cells. Now, it is the bile salts that act on fats in the alimentary canal and aid in their emulsion and absorption. They appear to be themselves split up into other substances and absorbed, for they are not found in the faeces. The colouring matter of bile is derived from colouring matter of the blood. The pigment of human and carnivorous animals is bilirubin, of a golden red colour. In herbivorous animals it is green, biliverdin. The red pigment is readily converted by oxidation into green. These pigments are cast out in the faeces. Their presence in the blood gives rise to the yellowness in cases of jaundice.

(3) The third function of the liver is very different from those already considered. A French physiologist, Claude Bernard, was the first to point out that the liver formed a substance, like starch, which was readily converted into sugar. He named it glycogen; and it is also called animal starch. If an infusion of pieces of the liver of any animal be made, it will be found to be rich in sugar (grape sugar, or glucose.). But if the liver of an animal just killed be rapidly removed from the body and thrown into boiling water, an infusion does not contain sugar. It is opalescent, or even milky. By adding alcohol to it a white precipitate of glycogen falls. If to the opalescent infusion saliva (which converts starch into sugar) be added, the infusion clears up, and sugar may now be detected in it—the glycogen has been transformed. Moreover, if water be injected into the portal vein of the liver, removed from an animal, and the injection continued until the water issues from the hepatic vein, sugar will be found in abundance in the water. If the injection be continued until the liver is well washed out, the washings will at last contain no sugar; and if it be left for a few hours longer, then repeating the injections, sugar will again be found. It appears from such experiments, and many others, that the liver forms glycogen, which is stored up in its cells, and that it also contains a ferment capable of transforming the glycogen into sugar. The liver forms its glycogen chiefly from starch and sugar taken as food, these passing as sugar to the liver by the portal vein. So far as can be learned, the glycogen is gradually re-transformed into sugar and sent to the tissues, as their needs demand, supplying them with material for their energy and heat. Thus the liver has a great purpose to serve in the nutrition of the body. Its glycogenic function, as it is called, throws light on the disease called diabetes, in which sugar appears in the urine. Fats may be formed or arrested by the liver cells. When formed, the cells usually exhibit bright dots of oil-globules, which may so increase in number that the cells appear to contain nothing but fat. The liver of domestic animals, especially of those kept in confinement, tends to become very fatty. The luxury know as “pate de foi gras” is made of the fatty liver of Strasbourg geese. These birds are kept in close confinement and stuffed with rich food, so that the fatty degeneration speedily occurs.

To sum up—the liver aids in the process of digestion by secreting the bile, it separates certain waste substance from the blood, and it stores up in its cells substances which are destined to take part in the general nourishment of the body.


The liver is the largest organ in the body. Normally it contains nearly one-fourth of the total amount of blood in the body, and it can be readily understood that if these numerous blood-vessels become choked with blood instead of being ordinarily filled, the liver might contain an enormous amount of blood, and if it could be seen in that condition it would appear to be of a deep red colour, and feel hard through the amount of blood in it. The liver may be congested from various causes, for anything which prevents the blood from returning from the liver to the heart and lungs will produce an accumulation of blood and congestion in the liver. It may also result from much simpler causes, such as excessive eating, or the use of too rich foods; excess in alcoholic drinking; want of exercise and sedentary habits; ague may produce it, and many other causes, such as accidents, blows, &c.

The symptoms of congestion of the liver are weight and fulness in the region of the liver, on the right side, under the ribs and below the shoulder-blade. It becomes tender on pressure. This tenderness is often well shown by giving a smart push with the fingers to the front part of the belly, just behind the end of the breast-bone. In congestion of the liver there may be also some pain, especially in coughing and when lying on the right side. Added to this are symptoms of dyspepsia and a feeling of sickness, bad appetite, often dull headache, and mental depression. The urine is highly coloured, and there is costiveness. Sometimes there is yellowness of the skin, and jaundice, shown in the white of the eye.

Take a packet of Blood Purifying Herbs, and boil according to instructions, and give a small teacupful every 3 hours. Then as an outward application use hot fomentations of Knitbone or Comfrey Liquor, wrung out with hot flannels and placed over the region of the liver, and change them every time they become cool. A mixture of Marshmallows, Comfrey, and Ragwort may also be used for fomentation as above; or, instead of fomentations, a better way would be to rub with the 3rd Preparation of Lobelia (see article on “Lobelia”) and then with Chickweed Ointment, and if the bowels be constipated give a small teacupful of Constipation Mixture every night and morning, made from the “Constipation Herbs” as recommended under “Constipation.” If the above treatment be followed the patient will soon be in a state of convalescence, but it must always be understood that during the time of treatment the patient must be kept warm in bed, and even after convalescence the Blood Mixture preparation must continue to be given until a perfect state of health is restored. The patient must also be kept from all intoxicating drinks, wines, or ciders.

Abscess of the Liver.

In nearly all cases abscess of the liver is preceded by inflammation or congestion of that organ. There may be one or several points of ulceration, and they may discharge outwardly or through the stomach, bowels, or lungs, penetrating the diaphragm. The last method of discharge is the most favourable. It may last for many months, resembling consumption. Discharges into the abdominal cavity are usually fatal in a few days.

The symptoms of abscess of the liver are not very marked, but usually there are frequent chills, followed by fever, sharp pain, and disturbed sensations in the region of the liver, bowels, stomach, and under the right shoulder. There may be diarrhoea or dysentery and great debility; the patient may lie in bed for weeks or months.

Guard against blood-poisoning through suppuration, which might set in through bursting of the abscess. In order to do this plenty of Blood Purifying Mixture should be freely given, at least four times a day, and before meals also. Constipation Mixture every night and morning, besides the above. As an outward application the patient should be rubbed with Third Preparation and Chickweed Ointment on the right side, over the region of the liver, and no intoxicating drinks, wines, or ciders must be given. The diet must be light and easy to digest, such as Slippery Elm Food, Lentil Flour Food, &c, and there is no occasion whatever for anyone to undergo an operation. If the abscess should show a tendency to break on the outside, the outward application treatment will answer all that is required. Keep the sore well washed and clean three times a day with Knitbone, that is, Comfrey, Marshmallows, Ragwort, or Chickweed liquor, made hot. If the patient be very dry or thirsty he may be given plenty of hot tea, with a little milk, or plenty of hot water or hot milk, with a pinch of Composition Powder put into each cupful. If the patient will follow this treatment to the letter, and have patience and perseverance, it will neither disappoint him nor the practitioner. But always bear in mind that if the abscess has a tendency to burst, either inside or out, the nearer it is to bursting the greater will be the pain; but that is a good sign, and the pain will cease when opening takes place, but on no account must it be opened by artificial means.

Hobnail Liver.

The cause of this condition of the liver is most frequently excessive alcoholic drinking, though it may result from other causes, such as syphilis, consumption, malaria, &c. It may also be the result of chronic inflammation of the connective tissue of the entire organ. It is slow in developing, and gives rise to various functional disturbances. The symptoms are:—Indigestion, heartburn, sour belchings, coated tongue, constipation, and occasional vomiting. The liver gradually diminishes in size, and the skin becomes first pale and then decidedly sallow, a sort of creamy colour, and also dry and harsh. Strength and flesh are lost rapidly; the abdomen becomes distended, and dropsy is apparent. Difficulty in breathing, and palpitation and haemorrhages from the bowels occur in advanced cases.

The treatment should be the same as that for congestion of the liver, keeping off all intoxicating drinks, wines, or ciders, Also keep off all drugs or chemical preparations. The food must be light and nourishing. If the appetite be very poor, give plenty of Agrimony Tea; and if there be heartburn or sour belchings, give a Cayenne or Capsicum Pill before and after each meal. The patient should be kept warm and comfortable, and the treatment persevered with until a cure is made.

Hydatid Liver; Echinococcus Tumour.

This is a frightfully distressing malady, fortunately very rare in this country, though not infrequent in the far North. It is developed from embryos of the tape worm of the dog (Taenia echinococcus). It is supposed that the eggs of tape worms enter the stomach and bowels of human beings, and the embryos bore their way through the walls or muscular parts into, and embed themselves in, the liver and develop in various ways; and one or more may be present. The one known as Multiscular is supposed to reach or grow to a large size, possibly to eight inches in diameter.

It is supposed that little or no treatment can be found for this disease beyond sustaining the general health of the patient, but in all such cases there should be a general or regular treatment for worms, such as was laid down for consumption, when that disease was produced by worms. (See article on “Consumption,” page 116.) If it is found that a tumour has formed through the worm, then besides the above treatment use that as laid down far abscess.

Inflammation of the Liver.

This may be caused through injuries or blows, accidents, congestion, or other drastic drying, caustic, corroding, and heating substances.

The symptoms are: Impairment of appetite, constipation, and bilious attacks; diarrhoea, tenderness and pain in the region of the liver, sometimes pleurisy pains in the chest, nausea and vomiting, and white, fur on the tongue. Attacks of this character may be frequent, and ushered In by chilliness and fever, chronic congestion, and possibly abscess is likely to follow.

The treatment in case of inflammation of the liver should be similar to that recommended for congestion of the liver.

Fatty Degeneration of the Liver.

The most common cause of fatty liver is over-indulgence in alcohol, fatty foods, or such as contain excessive quantities of starch or sugar, eaten by persons of an indolent nature, or inclined to obesity. But the condition may arise from consumption or wasting diseases, or heart or lung troubles, which prevent proper blood aeration. There are seldom any marked symptoms, though disturbances of digestion are common, and diarrhoea, with clay-coloured stools, and nausea and vomiting may set in. Fatty liver seldom proves fatal.

This disease of the liver should he treated similarly to that of waxy liver, but if there be lung affections give a Compound Lobelia Pill every two or three hours.

Lardaceous Liver, or Waxy Degeneration of the Liver.

This condition is always dependent on previous disease, such as syphilis, ulceration, and wasting diseases. The liver becomes increased in size and very dense in structure.

Some of the symptoms are:—Great paleness, diarrhoea, sickness and vomiting, indigestion, and progressive debility. The liver may be distinctly felt as enlarged, and the spleen is usually also enlarged, very often causing disagreeable sensations of fulness. Dropsy may be present, but jaundice is absent.

In the treatment of this disease nothing will be found better, than to give freely of the Blood Mixture Purifying Herbs and the Constipation Mixture as recommended in the article on “Constipation,” p. 131; and rub as an outward application with Chickweed Ointment over the region of the liver, on the right side. This treatment will reduce the size and density of it, and prevent dropsy from setting in; and if there be sickness and vomiting, a Cayenne Pill, given before and after each meal, will stop it.

Wandering, or Floating, or Falling Liver.

The liver is held in its position by ligamentous attachment, which under certain conditions becomes elongated and allows the liver to fall down into the abdominal cavity. Women with lax tissues who have passed through frequent pregnancies are the persons most liable to such a condition, and men who suffer with excessive rupture on the right side.

In a falling down of the liver through relaxation of its ligaments the patient should be put to bed and be bound up with a warm woollen cloth, and mild astringent preparations given, such as may be made from Tormentil Root, Five-leaved Grass Root, Purple Loosestrife, Yarrow, Great Water Dock Root, Yellow Dock Root, &c.

Yellow Atrophy of the Liver.

When the liver gets to a state of yellow atrophy it is very difficult to treat, as it causes a rapid breaking down of the liver cells by fatty degeneration and consequent diminution in the size of the liver itself. Emotional and alcoholic excesses are the most frequent causes.

The symptoms are:—During the first few days or weeks there are considerable disturbances and irritation of the stomach and bowels, accompanied by jaundice; then nervous symptoms, delirium, convulsions, and stupor. The tongue and teeth become covered with dark substances, the bowels are inactive, and the urine very scanty. Dark matter may be vomited, and bleedings from the nose and bowels similar to dysentery are common. The temperature may fall below normal, breathing become difficult or irregular, and the heart’s action greatly enfeebled; and in cases where the symptoms become very pronounced the invalid very rarely lasts over a week or two before death relieves the patient’s suffering.

This state of disease of the liver should be treated by ah infusion of our Common Green Liver Wort and bruised lump Ginger, made as follows:—Take 1 oz. of the green leaves of Liverwort after they have been plucked from all dirt and soil and washed, and ½ oz. of lump Ginger, crushed. Place them in a pan and put one quart of cold water on them, and simmer gently on the fire down to one pint; then strain, and give a wineglassful every three hours. Besides the above, a preparation may be made as follows:—Take 1 oz. of Barberry Bark and one quart of new milk, and boil them for 10 minutes; then strain, and give a wine-glassful with each meal. The diet should be light and nourishing, such as Slippery Elm Food, Lentil Flour Food, or a food made as follows:—Take 2 ozs. of Marshmallow Root, in very fine powder; 2 ozs. of Slippery Elm Bark, in very fine powder; 1 oz. of Comfrey Root, in very fine powder; ½ oz. of best Composition Powder; 6 oz. of fine white sugar. Mix all together, and then put one tablespoonful of the mixture into a pint pot or bowl, pour on to it half-pint of boiling water; stir well, and then add the same quantity of milk; stir it up again, and drink it as a food.

Cancer of the Liver.

This may be treated as congestion of the liver. (This is advice from 1922. Do follow more modern regimes for cancer. -Henriette.)

Gallstones of the Liver.

These should he treated with Constipation Mixture as prescribed in the article on “Constipation.”

Yellow Jaundice.

This can always be cured by using Barberry Bark boiled in milk, as was recommended in yellow atrophy of the liver, and taken before meals as prescribed.

Now it must always be borne in mind that the treatment here laid down for the various diseases of the liver is not only to assist in the dispersion of old, diseased, worn-out, and waste particles, but also to cause new tissue and cell formations to take the place of the old, and restore the parts affected to their normal condition, as all the separate ingredients mentioned in the making up of the different preparations named are not only depuratives but prophylactics, tissue nerve- and cell-formers, as well as having very great sanative qualities.

Common Plants and their Uses in Medicine was written by Richard Lawrence Hool, F.N.A.M.H., in 1922.

How to use slippery elm

Slippery elm can be found in many (many) forms, including tea, powders, lozenges, tablets, capsules, poultice, and extracts. And you can also find the extract of it in cosmetics like lotions, shampoos, soaps, and face creams. Which makes that trip to the supplement aisle pretty overwhelming.

In general, Dr. Axe likes to add about one tablespoon of slippery elm powder to hot water or tea (with a little honey, cacao, or cinnamon to help with the flavor). Dr. Shah similarly uses the powder, but has a different recipe: “Put about one to two tablespoons of powder or bark in about 32 oz of room temperature water. Cover overnight and strain in the morning. Then, sip it over the course of your day.” She also says she recommends capsules for people who are having digestive issues.

So if you’ve run out of cough drops, or your honey-laden herbal tea is just not cutting it, consider slippery elm to be another potentially helpful tool to have in your cold-and-flu-fighting arsenal.

Curious about some other herbs and their benefits? Check out what to know about turmeric and ashwagandha.

Do you struggle with constipation, diarrhea or other digestive issues? If so, it’s worth trying slippery elm, an herbal remedy used in North America since the 19th century that has been shown to treat a number of digestive issues.

What are the uses for slippery elm (also known as red elm)? It contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water.

This mucilage coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines, making it ideal for sore throats, coughs, gastroesophageal reflux diseases, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis and diarrhea.

What Is Slippery Elm?

The slippery elm tree (SE), medically known as Ulmus fulva, is native Eastern North America, including parts of the U.S. and Canada. It’s long been used by Native Americans to make healing salves and tinctures that can help treat various types of wounds, as well as taken orally for the relief of flu and cold-like symptoms and sore throats.

The SE tree ia medium-sized tree that can reach well over 50 feet in height and is topped by spreading branches that form an open crown. The tree’s bark has deep fissures, a gummy texture, and a slight but distinct odor. It’s the inner bark that’s most often dried and powdered to be used for medicinal purposes, since it creates a lubricating substance when mixed with water.

Today, slippery elm bark is typically found in tablet and capsule form, or used to make lozenges, powders, teas and extracts.


In addition to mucilage, research demonstrates that SE contains antioxidants and antimicrobial agents, making it a great remedy for wounds, burns, boils, psoriasis and other external skin conditions triggered by inflammation.

Like other high-antioxidant foods, studies suggest it may also help relieve inflammatory bowel conditions like ulcerative colitis, which is why it’s recommended for anyone following an IBS diet.

1. Helps Improve Digestive Function

Is slippery elm a laxative? Although it works differently than some other laxatives, it seems to improve symptoms of constipation, IBD and IBS, including in both adults and children. The fresh inner bark can be used in place of, or along with, other natural laxatives.

In one study, the effects of two different formulas on digestive function were compared, both of which included SE in addition to other herbs.

Formula one was associated with a small but significant increase in bowel movement frequency, as well as reductions in straining, abdominal pain, bloated stomach and IBS symptoms. Subjects who took formula two experienced a 20 percent increase in bowel movement frequency and significant reductions in straining, abdominal pain, bloating and global IBS symptom severity, as well as improvements in stool consistency. Ultimately, both formulas led to improvements.

SE has also been shown in certain studies to treat diarrhea and diverticulitis. Additionally, it may help protect against ulcers and excess acidity in the GI tract because it causes reflux stimulation of nerve endings, and that reaction leads to increased mucus secretion. Not only does this help most people, but it can actually give much relief to your dog too.

2. May Aid in Weight Loss (When Combined With a Low-Calorie Diet)

Since SE has the ability to improve digestion, this may aid in weight loss.

A study performed at New York Chiropractic College used normal participants from the faculty, staff, students and community members to participate in a 21-day weight loss program. Nutritional supplements containing digestive enzymes that were intended to facilitate digestion, reduce cholesterol levels, increase metabolic rate and mediate inflammatory processes were consumed 30 minutes before each meal.

The regimented supplementation program included daily supplementation with a one green drink, as well as a “cleanse supplementation” containing slippery elm plus other herbs and minerals. The cleansing mixture was taken before each meal during week two of the study. During week three, the cleanse supplementation was replaced with prebiotic and probiotic supplementation.

At the end of the study researchers found that participants experienced clinically meaningful reductions in weight and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. It was concluded that “Weight loss and improvements in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels occurred after a low-energy-density dietary intervention plus regimented supplementation program.”

3. Can Help Reduce Oxidative Stress

Because it contains compounds called phenolics, SE may act as a natural free radical scavenger and fighter of oxidative stress.

Phenolics are antioxidants that have been shown to elicit cellular responses that counter oxidant stress, which contributes to aging and many chronic diseases. Plant phenolics also seem to help protect against pathogens due to their natural antifungal effects.

4. May Help Prevent Breast Cancer

SE was first promoted as an option to help treat breast cancer, including DCIS, in the 1920s. The inner bark of SE has become an herbal remedy used by some to help support cancer recovery for prevention, and for improving quality of life and side effects among those undergoing conventional breast cancer treatments.

Though more studies need to be conducted, slippery elm — when combined with certain herbs such as burdock root, Indian rhubarb and sheep sorrel (which together form the supplement called Essiac) — may improve conditions for women with breast cancer and improve depression, anxiety and fatigue.

Because it has immune-boosting benefits and anti-inflammatory effects, it may help relieve pain associated with breast cancer.

5. May Reduce Severity of Symptoms of Psoriasis

SE has been shown in certain studies help patients with psoriasis, a condition that currently has no cure.

In one study, five case studies were evaluated of patients with psoriasis following a specific dietary regimen. The subjects were asked to follow a dietary protocol that included a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, small amounts of protein from fish and fowl, fiber supplements, olive oil, and avoidance of red meat, processed foods and refined carbohydrates. They were also asked to consume saffron tea and slippery elm bark water daily.

The five psoriasis cases, ranging from mild to severe at the study onset, improved on all measured outcomes over a six-month period, demonstrating that SE makes a great addition to any psoriasis diet treatment.

Slippery Elm Interesting Facts

Slippery elm trees, identified by their “slippery” inner bark, may live to be 200 years old. Sometimes called red elm, gray elm or soft elm, this tree grows best on moist, rich soils of lower slopes and flood plains, although it may also grow on dry hillsides with limestone soils.

Although SE trees are abundant and associated with many other hardwood trees, they are not important lumber trees; instead they have been used mostly for medicinal purposes throughout history.

In the U.S., SE trees are uncommon in much of the South, but grow abundantly in the southern part of the lake states and in the corn belt of the Midwest. They can be found growing from Maine west to New York, extreme southern Quebec, southern Ontario, northern Michigan, central Minnesota and in certain other areas.

As described above, there are many medicinal uses for slippery elm. Some Native American tribes believed SE could make childbirth easier. It was also consumed as a tea and was used to treat sore throats. The Iroquois were known to scrape the bark of the slippery elm tree to treat infections, swollen glands and conditions affecting the eyes.

However health-related purposes were not the only use of SE. The bark supplied material for the sides of winter houses and roofs of the Meskwaki. The inner bark was used by many tribes by boiling the bark to make fiber bags, large storage baskets, ropes and cords, making slippery elm one of the most versatile trees on the planet.

How to Use

SE bark can typically be found at your local health food store in a variety of forms — including tea, lozenges, capsules and tablets, poultice, and extract. If possible, speak with an herbalist or nutritionist for help finding what works for you.

Here are some of the most common uses and forms:

  • Diarrhea (in humans and pets): treatment by ingestion of capsules, tablets, tea, tincture and extracts
  • Cough (humans and cats): treatment by lozenges, tea, tincture, and extracts
  • Acid reflux: treatment by tea, and extracts
  • Constipation (pets, especially cats): treatment by powder or extract added to food
  • External skin conditions (humans and pets): treatment by shampoo or topical cream infused with extract.

Dosage Recommendations:

Dosage is usually dependent on weight.

If making SE tea at home (see below) use about 2–3 teaspoons of powder per one-cup serving. You can consume the tea 1–2 times daily.

A general recommendation in capsule/tablet form is a dosage of about 1,600 milligrams daily, taken in 2–3 divided doses. Because the concentration of SE varies depending on the specific supplement, always read the product’s dosage recommendations carefully.


There are many ways you can incorporate SE into your diet. Here are a few recipes to try:

Slippery Elm Tea


  • 1 tablespoon slippery elm bark powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon local honey (optional)
  • 3 ounces almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cacao
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon


  1. Add boiling water to cup.
  2. Add the slippery elm bark powder and stir well.
  3. Then add the honey, almond or coconut milk.
  4. Stir again.
  5. Top of with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Here are a couple others to try:

  • Slippery Elm Herbal Cough Drops
  • Natural First Aid Kit with Slippery Elm

Risks and Side Effects

Does slippery elm have side effects? Though SE is usually well-tolerated, some supplements containing this herb may trigger side effects in some people, such as nausea, increased bowel movements, frequent urination, swollen glands, skin blemishes, flu-like symptoms and slight headaches.

Because it coats the digestive tract, it may slow down the absorption of other drugs or herbs. To prevent drug interactions, it may be best to take slippery elm two hours before or after other herbs or medications you may be taking.

SE should only be given to children under the supervision of a knowledgeable practitioner.

Herbal medicines can trigger allergic reactions, including skin rashes, among people who are sensitive to their effects. Therefore, use caution and check with your health care provider, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or using other medications.

Is it safe to take slippery elm every day? Like other herbs, it’s best to take breaks from using it periodically. Try taking it for several weeks, then taking several weeks off before starting again if necessary.

Final Thoughts

  • Slippery elm is a medium-sized tree native to North America that contains bark that is used to make supplements and medicine.
  • The bark contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. This mucilage coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines, making it ideal for sore throat, cough, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis and diarrhea.
  • It’s even been used to heal wounds, relieve the flu or common cold, treat infected and swollen glands, and to wash and heal sore eyes.
  • The inner bark is where most of the health benefits reside. This bark is dried and powdered to be used for medicinal purposes and typically found as tablets and capsules, slippery elm lozenges, slippery elm powder for making teas or extracts, and coarsely powdered bark for poultices.

Slippery Elm Bark Powder Bulk

Slippery Elm Bark, (Ulmus rubra (syn. U. fulva)) Powder Bulk


Ulmaceae (Elm Family)


The genus name, Ulmus, is the ancient Latin name for this family of trees. The species name, rubra, is Latin for “red.”

Range of Appearance

Slippery elm is a deciduous tree native to eastern and central North America. It usually grows between 20 and 60 feet in height. The brownish gray bark is deeply furrowed. The leaves are simple, alternate, 4 to 6 inches long, olive green on top and lighter below, toothed unequally, and covered with hairs on both sides. The rust-colored leaf buds are followed by dense clusters of sessile flowers of red anthers with purplish red stigmas that appear before the leaves have come out. The seeds are yellowish green, winged, and papery, with no hairs on the margins. The tree grows in open areas with full sun to partial shade and where the soil is moist and firm. Elm trees, including slippery elm, have been subject to the fungus known as Dutch elm disease (Graphium ulmi), which is carried by a beetle and congests the trees’ circulatory system. Elm trees are therefore becoming endangered, and using slippery elm in quantity can contribute to their demise. Marshmallow root can be used as a substitute in many cases.

Parts Used

Inner bark

Physiological Effects

Medicinal Uses

Slippery elm was an important remedy for both the Native Americans and the settlers of early America. This herb moistens, clears heat, neutralizes overly acidic conditions, and provides nourishment. It soothes and heals any part of the body it comes in contact with and is used to treat inflammation of the bladder, bowel, kidneys, lungs, and stomach. It is an ingredient in the anticancer formula Essiac, originally an Ojibwa formula that a Canadian nurse, Rene Caisse (Essiac spelled backward), popularized. Slippery elm is used in the treatment of acid indigestion, AIDS, appendicitis, bipolar depression, bronchitis, colic, colitis, convalescence, cough, debility, diarrhea, diverticulitis, dysentery, gastritis, hemorrhoids, hoarseness, laryngitis, irritable bowel, nausea, nephritis, nervous breakdown, pharyngitis, pleurisy, pneumonia, sore throat, starvation, tuberculosis, typhoid, tumors, ulcers, underweight conditions, urinary tract inflammation, wasting diseases, and whooping cough. Topically, slippery elm can be used as a poultice to treat abscess, bedsores, boils, burns, diaper rash, eczema, eye inflammation, gangrene, splinters, and wounds. It also can be added to enemas or suppositories to soothe irritated bowels or to lubricate dry intestines or to vaginal boluses to treat inflammation. It is so demulcent that midwives have used it as a hand lubricant when checking a baby’s position in the birth canal during labor.

Culinary Uses

Slippery elm bark is very nutritive. It is most often powdered before consumption, after which it can be eaten as a gruel, like oatmeal, that can be flavored with cinnamon, raisins, honey, and so on. Slippery elm is very easy to digest, and so it is especially beneficial for people who can’t keep any other food down, such as those recovering from illness or undergoing chemotherapy. It can help nourish those who are wasting away, failing to thrive, and losing weight. It can be added to baby food as a nutritive and to nourish recently weaned infants or those who can’t digest milk. It also is popular in lozenges designed to treat sore throat and coughs. The leaves and immature fruits of the tree are also edible, raw or cooked.

Other Uses

Slippery elm is sometimes added to cosmetics as an emollient. Used as a binder, it holds herbal tablets together. At one time the bark was added to fats to prevent rancidity. The inner bark is strong and fibrous and can be made into cordage for bow strings, bow drills, rope, clothing, mats, jewelry, roofing, wagon wheels, and even musical instruments. The powdered herb makes great tinder in starting fires.



Slippery elm is regarded as one of the safest herbs. When consuming slippery elm in capsule form, be sure to take in plenty of fluids, as it absorbs moisture in the body and can be dehydrating.

Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.

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