Slippery Elm

Slippery Elm
Slippery Elm


Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate. The effectiveness ratings for SLIPPERY ELM are as follows:

Possibly effective for…

  • Sore throat. Slippery elm seems to soothe sore throats. Commercial lozenges are preferred to the native herb when used for this condition. The lozenges prolong the pain-killing effect.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Cancer. Early research suggests that a specific product containing burdock root, Indian rhubarb, sheep sorrel, and slippery elm bark (Essiac, Resperin Canada Limited) does not improve the quality of life in breast cancer patients.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing slippery elm bark, lactulose, oat bran, and licorice root can increase bowel movements and reduce stomach pain and bloating in people with IBS that is characterized by constipation. A different combination product containing the bark, bilberry, cinnamon, and agrimony can reduce stomach pain, bloating, and gas in people with IBS that is characterized by diarrhea. The effects of taking the bark alone are not clear.
  • Bladder infection.
  • Burns and wounds.
  • Coughs.
  • Colic.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Gout.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Herpes.
  • Rheumatism.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Syphilis.
  • Tapeworm.
  • Toothache.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness for these uses.

Side Effects Of Slippery Elm

Slippery elm is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately. There is insufficient reliable information available about the safety of slippery elm when applied to the skin. In some people, slippery elm can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation when applied to the skin.

Warnings & Precautions

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Folklore says that the bark can cause a miscarriage when it is inserted into the cervix of a pregnant woman. Over the years, slippery elm got the reputation of being capable of causing an abortion even when taken by mouth. However, there’s no reliable information to confirm this claim. Nevertheless, stay on the safe side and don’t take it if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Dosage Of Slippery Elm

The appropriate dose of slippery elm depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.


Consult your doctor or pharmacist


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.