Benefits of Slippery Elm for Digestive Complaints and More

| Modified on Jan 30, 2022
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Slippery Elm

For centuries, Slippery Elm has been used by herbalists in North America.  It has now become one of the staples in the cabinets of many of those who rely on natural healing remedies and used to treat many different ailments.

Slippery Elm traditionally used by Native Americans as a poultice for ulcers, wounds and boils. Internally, the herb was consumed to soothe an irritated digestive system. That is one of its main uses today.

What is Slippery Elm?

Slippery Elm is a spreading tree native to North America.

The fissured bark has a gummy texture and a slight odor.  The dried and powdered inner bark is the part of the tree used for medicinal purposes.

Slippery Elm is available in capsules, tablets or lozenges. The finely powdered bark is used as a tea.  Poultices are made from coarsely powdered bark.  It is generally regarded to be a safe natural treatment when properly used.

Benefits of Slippery Elm

Coughs and Sore Throats

One of the most common uses for slippery elm is to relieve coughs and soothe sore throats. This is because the gummy-feeling bark contains mucilage that soothes and coats the throat, stomach and intestines.

Stomach AIlments

The bark contains antioxidants that are helpful for diarrhea and other stomach issues by reducing inflammation.

Slippery Elm may also help to prevent ulcers and reduce excess stomach acid.

Many have found it useful for GERD, Crohn's disease, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Slippery Elm Poultices

Used externally as a poultice, Slippery Elm is used to treat small wounds and burns, boils, psoriasis and other skin problems. Not only is a poultice soothing, but it helps to create a protective layer on the skin, promoting faster healing and reduce pain.

Slippery Elm can draw out toxins. This makes it especially useful when removing splinters or treating an abscess of any kind.


Slippery elm should not be taken if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Continue reading below to learn how Earth Clinic readers have used Slipper Elm. Let us know if you have tried this wonderful herb!

Related Links:

Effective Natural Remedies for Tooth Abscess Relief
Heal Boils Naturally: Effective Home Remedies
Home Remedies for Stomach Aches & Abdominal Pain
The Best Natural Remedies for Diarrhea: A Global Guide
Ulcer Remedies

Acid Reflux

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Gena (Westport, Ct) on 12/09/2014
5 out of 5 stars

I have acid reflux and find that taking 4 capsules of slippery elm settles my stomach and makes the acid reflux disappear. I highly recommend it for anyone who suffers from Gerd or Acid Reflux! It's a wonderful old timer's remedy!

Bowel and Intestine Issues, Thins Mucus

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

on 08/05/2019
5 out of 5 stars

Slippery elm for leaking intestines. Because Slippery Elm coats the stomach and intestines, it imrpove aborption of vitamins and minerals from food. It also removes mucus. I take it whenever I have congestion from a cold. Highly recommend.

Constipation and Bowel Problems

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Michael (New Zealand) on 01/28/2022
5 out of 5 stars

Hello there!

A good friend of mine has had bowel problems and constipation for years and has tried "everything" with limited success - 'tis an on-going malady to be sure and causes a Tonne of grief and tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth.

One thing she never seems to take on board though, is the crucial need to drink more water than she does (especially in the summer) no matter how many times I suggest it to her. Stubborn? You could say that! Some people are just plain difficult to help.

However, after having played around with Slippery Elm for ages and ages (with moderate improvement) she made the simple switch to taking it last thing at night and it has made a profound difference to her "movements" the following morning. Follow the packet directions. Ensure you only use quality products.,

As you surely know by now, I am always searching for simple and sustainable solutions to the health problems life throws at us. Often times, folks prefer the complicated and expensive ones, thinking they must be more effective. I am a fully paid up member of the KISS Society.

Cheers from Down Under.

Replied by Bobbie

Hi Michael,

How does she take the slippery elm? And how much? Thank you.

Sore Throat, Coughs, Trouble Breathing

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Colleen (Brooklyn Park, Mn) on 12/27/2014
5 out of 5 stars

I have been using Slippery Elm for sore throats, coughing and trouble breathing. When I get a cold and the coughing starts I take it 2 or three pills a day and within 10 minutes the coughing subsides. Slippery Elm is wonderful. I am now going to try it for an upset tummy. I hope it helps!

Stomach Ache

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Garry (Mo.) on 07/17/2015
5 out of 5 stars

When my belly is not right I heat a cup water, add 1 tsp. slippery elm, 1 tsp. burdock powder. sweeten with honey. My belly loves me for it.

Ulcers or Pre-Ulcers

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mysti (Usa) on 11/09/2015 2 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Slippery Elm Bark powder was recommended for my husband's pre-ulcer condition by an MD & pioneer in holistic health many years ago. My husband was prescribed tagamet but it did not relieve his distress. After 2 weeks of taking it, he was still curled up in pain, unable to sleep, to walk or work.

This holistic MD said to warm some milk (or alternative like rice or almond milk) and then put it in a blender with some honey and sprinkle a tablespoon or so of slippery elm in through the top while pulsing the blender. It makes a very mild tasting (rather like maple) warm 'milk shake.' We were told to give him the slippery elm shake after every meal. In 2 days, my husband was up walking around, without any symptoms! It was truly a miracle.

Even though he went back to smoking and drinking coffee with sugar, whenever his stomach would kick up, we would make this slippery elm shake for him and his pre-ulcer symptoms never returned. This was 30 years ago. I use slippery elm now for my own intestinal distress and highly recommend this way of fixing it - it is very tasty, soothing and even the kids will like it.

Slippery elm not only stops the symptoms, it cleanses and heals the mucous membranes of the body according to research I've done. Thus, it is also very good for bronchial colds and those with asthma or other breathing problems.

Hope this helps others who want to avoid serious consequences of gut and lung problems.
Have a blessed day. :)