Slippery Elm

Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)

Slippery elm is a tree that originated in North America. Native Americans would peel its slimy, red inner bark from twigs and branches and use it therapeutically for a range of health conditions including sore throat, constipation, stomach ulcers, skin disorders, and many other conditions.

The inner bark of slippery elm contains chemicals that can increase mucous secretion, which may be helpful for stomach and intestinal problems. It also has a bulk laxative action and has been valuable in providing nutrition during convalescence.

It is also an ingredient of Essiac, a herbal anticancer formula popularised by Canadian nurse, Rene Caisse, in the early 1920s. While anecdotal reports suggest this combination has anticancer activity, reliable clinical trials are still in progress.

Part used

Inner bark


Sweet, cooling


Demulcent, emollient, nutritive, antitussive, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, diuretic, expectorant, astringent

  • Gastritis, gastric reflux, dyspepsia and gastric or duodenal ulcers
  • Irritable and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease
  • Colitis, diarrhoea and constipation
  • Upper & lower respiratory complaints, including bronchitis and throat inflammation
  • Convalescence as a nutrient supplement
  • Externally it is applied as a poultice for wounds, boils, burns, abscesses and ulcers

Related Products 

Used in our Essiac Tea