Slippery Elm Side Effects

Side Effects of Slippery Elm

Slippery elm is one of the greatest herbs known to mankind. It is fantastic for stomach and gastrointestinal ailments such as ulcers, diarrhea, colitis, constipation and many other ailments. For over a hundreds of years, this humble herb has been used by native Americans and American pioneers.

It is also a powerful herb to treat wounds, burns and various and sundry skin problems. It’s even been used as a cure for laryingitis.

Specific Side Effects of Slippery Elm

We’ve talked minimally about the health benefits of slippery elm but what about slippery elm side effects? There are none. Occasionally, though, you will hear about an allergic skin reaction.

I’ve been studying herbal medicine and herbs in general for over 25 years and I’ve literally never heard about any negative side effect associated with slippery elm. That said, the old saying, “All things in moderation” is always wise counsel.

What about slippery elm drug interactions? There are no drug interactions recognized at this time although you never know. That said, this could change in the future. I doubt you will ever hear about that, though.

Why not? Because in reality slippery elm is actually a food although certainly not the kind you’d like to buy at a grocery store. Not that it tastes horrible like cod liver oil or something of that nature. Not at all. Slippery elm comes from the bark of the slippery elm tree. It’s very bland in taste and has a mild yet characteristic odor. It is light brown in color as well.

I doubt that it will ever have drug interaction problems or side effects for the very nature of this wonder herb or food is that it is very soothing to the human system both as a poultice or topical agent and as a consumed food. This humble herb saved me from an ulcer on a couple of different occasions (read about it at

It is so soothing when taken internally as a food that if a newborn baby is having trouble keeping food down, slippery elm will soothe the stomach or distress and will be digested within the child while simultaneously providing much-needed nutrition. Indeed, slippery elm is a very, very mild food and calms the stomach down literally almost instantly (at least in me it does!).

If you have any doubts at all, talk to your doctor. Or talk to a naturopathic doctor and/or master herbalist. Your doctor will probably deride slippery elm and medicinal herbs in general so be prepared for that but get his/her opinion if you have serious concerns about slippery elm.

Pharmacology of Slippery Elm

What about this herb’s pharmacology? Once the hygroscopic, mucilaginous material is taken from the slippery elm bark, you have a combination of sugars, starch, phytosterols, and other constitutents. This material is used in powders for combination with psyllium seed, throat lozenges, capsules and even liquid extracts.

One negative of slippery elm bark is that it’s becoming more and more popular. It used to be that alternative health afficionados like myself knew about it but no one else. Now, the US Forest service has reported about thievery.

Some will go to areas where slippery elm trees are common and strip the bark of the tree and eventually sell the slippery elm powder. I don’t condone this and I hope you won’t either. Slippery elm is a great herb but it shouldn’t be used so much that it harms the environment or encourages theft. The moderate, controlled harvesting of this invaluable herb is what is needed. I think that’s common sense.


This multi-facted herb is fantastic for gastrointestinal disorders. It is also fantastic for skin problems, as mentioned. It’s also very inexpensive and can be found in any health food store.

I personally use it as a powder in combination with psyllium seed (this makes a very potent anti-constipation drink) and to soothe upset stomach and for occasional, infrequent heartburn.

I hope this slippery elm bark side effects web page has been useful to you.

Yours in health,
Nutritional Supplement