Slippery Elm

Slippery Elm Information

The health benefits of slippery elm are remarkable. Its many uses include emollient, demulcent, nutritive, astringent and as a tonic. As with many other herbs, it has gained a reputation as actually working with many heal problems. It has in fact grown to be so popular that there are

Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva or Ulmus Rubra) has been used for at least two centuries in America as an herbal agent and its renewed popularity is growing. Before we get into some of the specific health benefits of slippery elm, let’s talk about where it comes from.

The slippery elm bark comes from a tree, a deciduous tree and is native to the eastern north America. Slippery elm comes from the inner bark of the tree and is stipped off and ground into a powder if it’s not powdery enough, which it often is.

Popularity of Slippery Elm

Among its many medicinal uses, slippery elm was even used by Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry to throw his famed spitball (Daugherty, para. 12). It’s so popular that there is a law forbidding excessive stripping of the slippery elm tree of its precious bark. It’s even been touted publicly by singer Amy Lee for what it’s done for her. If you look at the picture on the left farther down the page, you’ll see what it looks like when it’s taken from the bark.

Specific Slippery Elm Health Benefits & Alternative Medicine Uses

Let’s now go over some of the many and varied slippery elm health benefits. It is a very diversified herb and according to famed master herbalist and naturopathic doctor, Dr. John Christopher (1976), “Slippery elm is one of the finest and most valuable Medicnies in the herbal world” (p. 334).

  • An all-natural alternative medicinal herb for nausesa.
  • It’s also a natural cure for acid reflux — and much less expensive too than many of the pills available at your local pharmacy.
  • Helps soothe severe or mild stomach upset like gastritis, flatulence, peptic ulcer, and other gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Takes away ulcer pain.
  • When combined with psyllium husks or seeds, it forms a potent drink that can help relieve severe constipation.
  • Though bland to taste, if you have a baby that can’t keep anything down, slippery elm is so soothing even a baby can eat it in a gruel. Slippery elm is a nutritive meaning it has life-giving nutrients in it and this will allow the affected baby to keep the slippery elm down and get much-needed nutrition.
  • It’s very soothing to inflamed skin, mucuous membranes. In 19th century America, there are stories of how it was used as a poultice for injured or inflamed body parts, even for gunshot wounds. It provides the elements for speedy healing and simultaneous strengthening of the stomach.
  • It’s soothing to the voice or throat. Singer Amy Lee has publicly credited it saying the “slippery elm tea” has helped her throat.
  • According to The Daily Record (2008), it “Slippery elm powder can help to correct the bacterial balance in the gut” (para. 4). Bear in mind this is a major newspaper in the United Kingdom. The word is definitely getting out about slippery elm.

My Personal Experience With Slippery Elm

I’ve had a few jerk bosses in my life and consequently, the stomach acid used to really churn. I’ve had bosses where if I did 98 things perfectly out of 100, they would only look at the two mistakes. It’s very frustrating to work like that. In my last such experience, I developed an ulcer. Knowing about slippery elm, I bought a bottle with 100 vegetable capsules and would pop four or five at a time and it worked. It literally within five to 10 minutes would not just reduce but eliminate the acidity pain in my stomach.

I knew it would work as periodically through my life when I’ve had too much stomach acidity and ulcer-like pain in my stomach, I would take slippery elm to soothe my stomach and then later, when the pain was gone, I would take cayenne pepper. Believe it or not, cayenne and all peppers high in capsaicin (the active ingredient in cayenne and peppers that make them hot to the taste) would re-build the stomach tissue. I’m a great believe in cayenne pepper.

I went through a bottle pretty quickly before I finally quit. It was just another personal experience I had with slippery elm. It’s so soothing and so inexpensive. A full bottle costs around $10 to $12 where I live. That’s all!

Where Can I Get Slippery Elm?

You can get it at your local health food store whether you want it in capsule or powder form. It’s inexpensive too. You can, of course, get it online but it’s easier and quicker to get it locally. If you are going to get it online, look for it from a reputable company that has passed an AIB food safety. This will mostly likely ensure quality and good manufacturing practices.


Slippery elm is an incredibly fantastic medicinal herb. It is inexpensive, readily available and so gentle to the human organism that can even be used with babies. It’s possessed of a multitude of medicinal uses including for gastric ulcers, tuberculosis, asthma, pneumonia, skin eruptions, burns and even helps heal the effects of poison ivy — it’s an all-natural cure for poison ivy. (Nevertheless, as with any health problems, see your licensed physician. I’m not a doctor and as always, any information in this site is for educational purposes only.)

I hope you’ve found this information useful to you.

Yours in health,

Bock S. Integrative medical treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Int J Integr Med. 2000;2(5):21-29.
Christopher, John R. (1976). School of Natural Healing. Provo, Utah: BiWorld Publishers.
Daughtery, Paul. (2009, February 11). No need to inject more ‘roid outrage. USA Today on the Web. Retrieved from Lexis-Nexis March 14, 2010.