Slippery Elm Side Effects Guideline

    slippery elm

    Martin Alvarez

    Martin Alvarez
    Nutritionist/Dietitian Professional Guide

    Updated on 11/26/2022

    One elm tree type is the slippery elm (Ulmus rubra). It is found all the way from southern Quebec to northern Florida and eastern Texas in the east part of North America. It treats lots of common diseases. Yet slippery elm side effects are not quite familiar to some people.

    Traditional Native American medicine practitioners utilized the inner bark of slippery elm trees to treat a variety of diseases, including wounds and digestive disorders. It is also a primary component in essiac tea; a herbal beverage mentioned to strengthen the immune system.

    Slippery Elm

    Insoluble fiber, also known as a fiber that may be dissolved in water, can be found in slippery elm. Mucilage is the name given to the soluble fiber that can be found in slippery elm.

    Mucilage forms a gel-like substance by capturing and absorbing water like a sponge. This chemical is demulcent, which means it coats mucous membranes and prevents the passage of mucus. Pain and inflammation may experience some temporary relief if the coating is applied.

    Slippery elm also contains calcium. Calcium has been shown to have some antacid properties. Regrettably, much research hasn't been done on the effects of slippery elm. The majority of the currently available studies are, on the whole, somewhat limited and old.

    Common Names For Slippery Elm:

    • Red elm
    • Gray elm
    • Soft elm
    • Moose elm
    • Indian elm

    The slippery elm and the American elm are two entirely different species of elm (U. Americana). Although it has a similar appearance, the American elm is not used in medicine.

    What Applications Are There For Slippery Elm?

    Slippery Elm

    In traditional herbal medicine, slippery elm has been used for a very long time. It can be taken orally or administered topically to the skin, depending on the desired effect. It is claimed that slippery elm can treat a variety of conditions, including the following:

    • The condition known as acid reflux occurs when acid from the stomach rushes back up into the esophagus.
    • The disease of the inflammatory bowel (IBD)
    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), sometimes known as irritable bowel syndrome, is a disorder that can produce recurrent bouts of abdominal pain in addition to either constipation or diarrhea.
    • Constipation
    • Ulcers of the mouth
    • Throat discomfort
    • Diarrhea
    • Cystitis is an infection of the bladder that can sometimes occur.

    It can also be administered topically to the skin to aid in healing wounds such as burns and cuts.


    Some people believe that slippery elm can treat various types of ailments that are more severe, such as the following:

    • Bacterial and viral infections of the upper respiratory tract
    • Syphilis is an infection that can spread sexually.
    • Herpes is a skin infection that can spread sexually.
    • The inflammatory form of arthritis known as gout
    • Psoriasis is an extremely prevalent skin condition.
    • Cancer of the breast or of the lungs

    As of this moment, there is no clinical proof to substantiate the claims that have been made. The following is what is known about a select few applications: 1

    An Ache In The Throat

    throat ache

    In the 1840s, a physician by the name of Henry Thayer utilized slippery elm to prepare an elixir, marking the beginning of its use in commercial medications. The formulation created by Thayer was initially offered for sale as an oral suspension and later as lozenges.

    Slippery elm can assist in relieving a sore throat because it is a natural demulcent. It is accomplished by coating the inside of the esophagus as well as the neck.

    The Slippery Elm Lozenges created by Thayer are still available for purchase today. A slippery elm lip balm is another product that this company manufactures. Extracts, tinctures, lotions, and herbal teas made with slippery elm are produced by certain other producers.

    The Food and Medication Administration identified slippery elm as a botanical drug in the 1960s. [citation needed] It is considered risk-free for use as a therapy for mild cases of sore throat pain.

    Although, the agency did not comment on whether or not it was successful. They referred to it as "a demulcent with little clinical effects" instead.

    Digestive Disorders

    digestive disorder

    Some people feel acid reflux symptoms are alleviated by using slippery elm. Unfortunately, its effects only last for about half an hour at most. In addition, it does not treat the underlying factors responsible for reflux.

    Many of the signs and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease are said to be alleviated, according to proponents of slippery elm (IBD). Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are included in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

    People who support this theory feel that slippery elm creates a protective barrier in the intestines that is only transient. To this day, there is a lack of consistency in the evidence. According to a study conducted in 2002, slippery elm exerts antioxidant effects on colon tissue samples taken from individuals who suffer from ulcerative colitis. The study's results did not indicate whether or not the same effect would occur if slippery elm were consumed orally.

    Slippery Elm

    Other researchers have investigated whether or not slippery elm helps alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (IBS). Irritable bowel syndrome can either be characterized by a predominance of constipation (IBS-C) or diarrhea (IBS-D) (IBS-D).

    In a study that came out in 2010, researchers looked at two distinct kinds of products that contained slippery elm. The research indicated that all IBS-C patients who participated in the study and took the supplements stated that their symptoms had improved. Approximately three-quarters of those diagnosed with IBS-D reported seeing the same improvements.

    The outcomes of this limited study show some cause for optimism; however, additional research is required.


    Although some evidence suggests that slippery elm may aid with specific digestive disorders, the study on this topic is conflicting. Most of the studies are on the modest side and are quite old, and there is a need for additional investigation.

    Slippery Elm May Cause Potential Adverse Effects


    It hasn't been determined whether or not slippery elm is safe to consume because there hasn't been much research done on it. Some examples of common adverse effects include:

    • Nausea.
    • Irritation of the skin.
    • The allergic reaction is most frequently observed in those hypersensitive to peach or elm pollen.

    The digestive tract may get coated with slippery elm. Because of this, it has the potential to prevent the body from properly absorbing some medications.

    If you are also taking other medications, you should take slippery elm at least two hours before or after taking the other prescriptions. When you take your normal prescriptions, make sure you drink a lot of water unless your doctor tells you differently.

    skin irritation

    In traditional practices of herbal medicine, the outer bark of the slippery elm tree is frequently employed as an abortion inducer. There is not much data to suggest that this is effective. Although, women who are pregnant or intend to become pregnant should stay away from slippery elm.


    Slippery elm has the potential to create adverse reactions, and some individuals may even be allergic to it. Additionally, it might prevent the body from properly absorbing other medications. Always wait at least two hours before or after taking other medications before or after taking slippery elm. Do not consume slippery elm if you are pregnant or attempting to get pregnant.

    Instructions For Use And Preparation


    There are no recommendations or recommendations regarding the use of slippery elm. Using slippery elm to temporarily relieve a sore throat is not thought to pose any health risks. However, this does not always imply risk-free for any other applications. Do not exceed the dosage indicated on the medicine packaging as appropriate for your condition.

    The powdered inner bark of the slippery elm tree is commonly used in the preparation of medicinal products. There are several various preparations of slippery elm that are available for purchase, including:

    • Tinctures
    • Lozenges
    • Salves
    • Lip balms
    • Bulk powder
    • Tea bags

    What You Should Search For


    In the United States, there is not a lot of oversight placed on dietary supplements, and they are exempt from having to go through rigorous testing or extensive research. As a result of this, the quality of different brands can vary.

    When shopping for vitamins, you should always stick to well-known brands. Try to choose products that have been evaluated for quality by an impartial party. One example of an organization that conducts this kind of testing is the United States Pharmacopeial Convention or ConsumerLab.

    Unfortunately, makers of herbal supplements only seldom submit their goods for testing by unbiased third parties. It indicates that you might need to utilize your best judgment in the situation. Make an effort not to be persuaded by health claims that could be real or could be false.


    Always prioritize purchasing supplements that reputable brands manufacture. Never exceed the dose that is stated on the packaging as being recommended.

    Other Issues To Regard

    slippery elm

    There is currently no indication that the slippery elm may go extinct. However, there are significant concerns regarding its ability to continue.

    The floodplain is the ideal environment for the slipper elm. The majority of these ecosystems have been altered to better suit human needs. Because the timber from slippery elm trees has a low market value, there haven't been many efforts put into replanting this species of trees.

    Due to the fact that slippery elm trees are also susceptible to Dutch elm disease, not many mature slippery elm trees are left in the natural world.

    In the state of Rhode Island, the slipper elm has been placed on the "special concern" list. It is said to have been completely exterminated from the state of Maine.

    The collection of wild slippery elm bark poses a risk to the species' continued existence. By avoiding slippery elm bark taken from wild trees, you may do your part to safeguard the species.


    slippery elm

    In traditional Chinese medicine, the inner bark of slippery elm trees is used to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation of the throat and various digestive diseases. Research is not much found on how effective slippery elm is.

    There is a possibility that slippery elm will cause adverse effects such as nausea and skin irritation. There is a possibility that some individuals are allergic to slippery elm.

    There are no recommendations or recommendations regarding the use of slippery elm. It is not dangerous to use for the treatment of a sore throat in the short term. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the dosage while treating other ailments. Try to find things that well-known brands manufacture.

    The slippery elm is a species that is in jeopardy. You can do your part to preserve this tree by avoiding purchasing bark that has been collected in the wild.