Latin: Ulmus rubra

label for Thayers Slippery Elm Lozenges

WHAT IT DOES: Slippery elm inner bark is sweet in taste and neutral in action.  It soothes the throat and coats and soothes the intestines.

RATING: Slver, due to mild action


• Powder: two to four teaspoons, two to three times per day
• Tablets: suck on as needed to soothe throat

Slippery elm contains abundant vegetable mucilage, which has a coating action useful in treating digestive conditions with inflamed mucous membrane linings such as gastritis, gastric or duodenal ulcer, enteritis and colitis.  Because this is so common, we use this plant frequently in our clinic, often combined with DGL licorice. It may also soothe bladder and kidney inflammation.  The powder can be prepared in gruel form: mix warm water and honey to make a paste, add two to four teaspoons two to three times per day, and take with water.  The soothing action is quick and direct, which helps with patient compliance.  Slippery elm is also known for its nutritive qualities.  Eclectic doctors used to boil a teaspoon of it with milk to alleviate bowel complaints in recently weaned children (Felter and Lloyd, 1898).

Research Highlights

• Herbalist John Heinerman reported on a laboratory study done in India where researchers fed a similar highly mucilaginous herb (comfrey root) to cats.  They demonstrated upon autopsy that the mucilage formed a smooth coating over the entire digestive tract which lasted for over 24 hours (Heinerman, 1979).