I’m sure many of us have heard or even tried Slippery Elm before? As a Naturopath it’s one of our secret weapons. It’s a true chameleon in the gut. With the capacity to address a number of common digestive complaints including constipation, loose bowels & reflux. It’s gentle, very easy to incorporate into the daily routine & is safe to use for people all all age groups, both young & old. Read on to learn why we love slippery elm so much….

What is Slippery Elm?

Slippery elm, or scientifically known as Ulmus rubra, is a tree native to eastern north America which is harvested for its bark. It’s the bark of the slippery elm tree that is ground into a fine powder & therapeutically administered for its emollient (a substance that soothes, softens or protect skin) & demulcent (a substance that has a soothing effect on mucous membranes) activity. These actions can be attributed to its mucilage content,  the polysaccharide substance in slippery elm which has a viscous & gelatinous quality to it, when mixed with liquid becomes ‘slippery’ to the touch.

What are the benefits of Slippery Elm?

It’s main healing properties (& most common use) is centred around its beneficial activity in the digestive tract.
 Due to slippery elms high mucilage content it has a very soothing, protective & anti-inflammatory effect on the mucous membranes that line the entire digestive tract, from top to bottom. For this reason it’s ideal for relieving hyper-sensitivity & irritation in the gut which can occur as a result of food intolerances, infections (both acute & chronic), post-antibiotic therapy, chronic stress, inflammatory bowel disorders & poor microbial balance. We find it ideal in providing symptoms relief for health complaints including constipation, diarrhoea, reflux, food intolerances, gastroenteritis (both during & post infection) & irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s also an effective adjunct therapy to healing the gut lining when intestinal hyper-permeability has been detected.
Slippery elm is also a prebiotic containing substance which encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, essential for promoting long-term digestive health. If you wish you learn more about the many benefits of prebiotic, read our previous post on the topic here
Slippery elm also very rarely (if ever) results in adverse reactions or side effects making it’s both gentle & safe to use in all groups of people both children & adults. Slippery elm is also safe to use during pregnancy & lactation.
If you feel slippery elm may be helpful for you please feel free to chat to one of our friendly Naturopaths in-store for correct dosage & to answer any burning questions you may have.


Peterson, C, Sharma, V, Uchitel, S, Denniston, K, Chopra, D, Milla, P & Peterson, S 2018, Probiotic Potential of Herbal Medicines Used in Digestive Health and Disease, The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, Vol. 24. No. 7, https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/acm.2017.0422
Sarris, J & Wardle, J 2014, Clinical Naturopathy 2e: An evidence based guide to practice, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier