- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: slippery elm
Other Names: grey elm, Indian elm, moose elm, red elm, sweet elm, Ulmus fulva, Ulmus rubra, winged elm
Drug Class: Herbals
What is slippery elm, and what is it used for?
Slippery elm is a tree (Ulmus fulva, Ulmus rubra) native to North America. For centuries, indigenous people of America have been taking slippery elm orally to treat various ailments including cough, sore throat, and gastrointestinal (GI) conditions, and used topically as a salve to heal wounds, ulcers, boils, burns, and skin inflammation. Slippery elm may be effective for soothing sore throat, however, there is little research on its efficacy for other conditions.
The name slippery elm comes from the slippery feel of the tree’s inner bark when chewed or mixed with water. The inner bark is the part used for medicinal purposes, after it is dried, powdered, and mixed with water. Slippery elm contains mucilage, a type of soluble fiber that forms a gel-like substance when dissolved in water.
The slippery elm mucilage coats the lining of the throat and GI tract and soothes irritation, and stimulates the GI nerve endings leading to increased mucus secretion which may help with stomach ulcers and acidity. The mucilage has antioxidant properties which may help reduce inflammation in the GI tract when taken orally or on the skin when applied topically.
Slippery elm is available as tablets and capsules, lozenges, finely powdered bark for making teas or extracts, and coarsely powdered bark for poultices. Some baby food products and nutrition drinks may also contain slippery elm. The suggested uses of slippery elm include:
- Sore throat
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcer prevention
- Inflammatory bowel conditions such as colitis, diverticulitis, and Crohn’s disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Bladder inflammation (cystitis) and urinary tract infections
What are the side effects of slippery elm?
Common side effects of slippery elm include:
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug.
Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of slippery elm?
There isn't enough reliable information to know what might be an appropriate dose of slippery elm. Natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Follow directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.
Powdered Inner Bark (1:8 decoction)
- 4-16 ml orally three times daily
Powdered Inner Bark (nutritional supplement)
- 4 g/500 ml water orally three times daily
- 5 ml orally three times daily; 1:1 in 60% alcohol
- Apply topically; mix coarse powdered inner bark with boiling water
- Slippery elm is not known to have serious adverse effects and there is no information available on slippery elm overdose.
- In case of overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.
What drugs interact with slippery elm?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Slippery elm has no known severe, serious, moderate or mild interactions with other drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information.
Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Slippery elm may cause miscarriage, although it is not clear whether from taking orally or insertion of the bark into the cervix during pregnancy. Avoid taking slippery elm while pregnant.
- There is no information on the safety of slippery elm use by nursing mothers. Avoid taking slippery elm if you are breastfeeding.
What else should I know about slippery elm?
- Slippery elm is possibly safe for most people.
- Do not take a higher dose than what is recommended on the label.
- Always check labels of herbal supplements for the ingredients they contain.
- Slippery elm is marketed as an herbal supplement and does not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the FDA. There may be discrepancy between the labeling and the actual ingredients and their amounts. Choose your product carefully.
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Daily Health News
Slippery elm is a tree (Ulmus fulva, Ulmus rubra) native to North America, which has been used orally for centuries by indigenous people to treat various ailments, including cough, sore throat, and gastrointestinal (GI) conditions, and used topically as a salve to heal wounds, ulcers, boils, burns, and skin inflammation. It may also be effective for sore throat relief. Common side effects of slippery elm include allergic reaction, contact dermatitis, and miscarriage in pregnant women. Do not use during pregnancy or if breastfeeding.
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in children is a functional gastrointestinal disorder with signs and symptoms of: Abdominal pain Bloating Diarrhea Constipation The cause of IBS is unknown, however, certain foods, stress, anxiety, and depression may contribute to the symptoms of IBS. There is no cure for IBS in children; however, medications, dietary changes, and stress management may relieve symptoms.
How Do You Get Rid of Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is characterized as loose or runny stools that happen an abnormally high number of times throughout the day. Diarrhea can be linked to autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s or irritable bowel syndrome but is more often a sign of food intolerance (lactose is common), viral infection, food poisoning or other infectious diseases of varying severity.
When Should You Worry About Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is typically a symptom that resolves itself within 48 hours; however, here is when it may indicate a serious health issue.
Burn: What Are the Four Types of Burns?
Depending on how much the burn has penetrated the skin, the burn can be categorized into four types: first-degree burns, second-degree, third-degree, and fourth-degree burns.
Can Dermabond Be Used on Open Wounds?
The tissue adhesive, Dermabond, can be used as an alternative for 5-0 or smaller sutures to close wounds. It can be used to close wounds on the face, extremities and torso. The doctor may prefer Dermabond over sutures depending on their level of comfort and experience.
What Are the Causes of Mouth Ulcers?
Mouth ulcers are also called canker sores, aphthous ulcers, and are a form of mouth sores. They are small, round ulcers that may be red, yellow, or gray. They occur in lining of the oral cavity (mucous membrane), usually on the inner surface of the lips and cheeks. The causes of mouth ulcers can be traumatic, environmental, systemic disease, or medication. Quite often, mouth ulcers are triggered by an underlying medical condition.
Home Remedies for Constipation
Constipation is usually an easily treatable problem. A few changes in diet, lifestyle, and making use of certain over the counter products can help relieve it. Here are seven natural home remedies to relieve constipation.
How Bad Are Second-Degree Burns
Second-degree burns are a type of burns that are severe than the first-degree burns (minor burns that affect the superficial layer of the skin) but milder than the third-degree burns (that cause major loss of the skin). They affect the epidermis as well as the layer (dermis) that is deeper to the epidermis.
What Is the Fastest Way To Cure a Cough?
Learn what medical treatments can help ease your cough symptoms and speed up your recovery.
How Can I Treat IBS Naturally?
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS refers to a medical condition that affects the bowel. IBS is associated with a group of symptoms that include repeated episodes of pain or cramps in the abdomen, bloating, and changes in bowel movements, which may be diarrhea, constipation, or both. Read about 6 lifestyle changes.
Basic Steps of Wound Care
After you get the wound and follow all the steps of wound care, you need to observe your wound for a few days till it heals completely. Call the doctor if you feel that your wound has become infected.
How Can I Test Myself for Ulcers?
Peptic ulcer disease is when a sore forms on the inner lining of the stomach or small intestine. Test yourself for an ulcer with lab tests, imaging tests, and an endoscopy.
How Long Does Whooping Cough Last?
What is whooping cough and how long does whooping cough last? Learn more about whooping cough and how to recover from whooping cough.
How Do You Irrigate a Wound?
Wound irrigation is a non-invasive procedure in which a steady flow of a solution is used to achieve wound hydration; remove debris, dead cells, pathogens, and excess blood or other exudates such as pus in an open wound; and assist with a better visual examination. Wound irrigation is one of the most effective methods of wound cleansing.
When To Not Close A Wound
Wounds with high chances of infection should be kept open for greater than 24 hours or should not be stitched for adequate cleaning and antibiotic treatment to prevent the risk of infection.
What Is the Best Treatment for Whooping Cough?
Learn what medical treatments can help ease your whooping cough symptoms and speed up your recovery.
What Is the Difference Between Strep Throat and Sore Throat?
What Is The Difference Between Strep Throat and Sore Throat? Learn how to identify the symptoms and treat these throat conditions effectively.
How Serious Is Whooping Cough in Adults?
What is whooping cough (pertussis) and how serious is it for adults? Learn causes, symptoms and treatments.
Should I Get Tested for COVID-19 if I Have a Sore Throat?
If you have a sore throat along with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, you should get tested for COVID-19.
What Are Some Home Remedies I Can Give My Child for Constipation?
What are some home remedies for children with constipation? Learn what causes constipation and how to relieve your child’s symptoms.
Is Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Contagious?
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by Bordetella pertussis. Whooping cough symptoms include severe coughing fits and whooping sound produced during inhalation. The bacteria spreads via airborne droplets produced during sneezing or coughing. There is a whooping cough vaccine that is typically administered during childhood vaccinations.
What Helps Constipation Fast?
Learn what medical treatments can help ease your constipation symptoms and speed up your recovery.
First Aid: Why You Need a First Aid Kit and CPR
First aid is providing medical assistance to someone a sick or injured person. The type of first aid depends on their condition. Preparedness is key to first aid, like having basic medical emergency kits in your home, car, boat, or RV. Many minor injuries may require first aid, including cuts, puncture wounds, sprains, strains, and nosebleeds. Examples of more critical first aid emergencies include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and heatstroke.
Symptoms Of An IBS Attack- What To Know
IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a medical condition affecting the large bowel. It is a type of functional bowel or gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. This means that although it causes disturbing symptoms, it does not cause any structural damage to the bowel.
Do Stomach Ulcers Go Away?
Stomach ulcers are sores on the inner lining of the stomach. Stomach ulcer symptoms may go away after some time, but the ulcer may still be there.
What Can Constipation be a Sign Of?
What is constipation and how do I know why I have it? Could it be a sign of something more serious?
What Helps IBS During Pregnancy?
Learn thirteen ways to successfully deal with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) during pregnancy to ease symptoms and keep your baby healthy.
Is My Sore Throat Allergies or COVID-19?
Sore throat can be a symptom of allergies or COVID-19, and it can be difficult to tell which one you have. Understanding the difference between these two illnesses can help.
When Should You Not Close A Wound?
Wounds should not be closed if there is a high risk of infection and in other situations. Wounds may be classified as acute or chronic or open or closed. They may be caused by penetrating objects, nonpenetrating trauma and other miscellaneous causes.
What Can I Do for My Baby’s Cough?
Cough can cause significant discomfort to a baby. The baby may also have difficulty relaxing and sleeping. Numerous illnesses can cause cough as a primary symptom. Coughing is the result of the baby’s airway being affected or irritated.
Burn: First-Degree Burn
A first-degree burn is the most minor form of burn and it usually heals within a week. It happens when the source of heat has come into contact with your skin for just a fraction of a second. A first-degree burn can usually be self-treated at home.
How Do I Get Rid of My Toddler's Cough?
Cough is one of the common complaints in toddlers. Get rid of your toddler's cough by making sure your child rests, stays hydrated, takes over-the-counter pain medication, uses nasal spray and uses a humidifier or steam to provide relief.
What Can Diarrhea Be a Sign Of?
Diarrhea is a common condition and usually goes away without intervention.
How Do You Know If Your Child Has Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough is a common issue that affects many children. Learn the signs of whooping cough, what causes it, how doctors diagnose it, and what you can do to treat it.
What Are the Categories of Wound Closure?
An open wound can be closed in any of the three ways. These ways are referred to as the three categories of wound closure or three ways of wound healing.
Peptic Ulcer Disease
Peptic ulcers are sores that develop on the inner lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small bowel (duodenum). Peptic ulcers cause symptoms like heartburn, nausea, vomiting, weight loss and other symptoms. Ulcers are treated with lifestyle modification and medications.
Constipation Signs and Symptoms
An individual may experience different symptoms; however, these are most common signs and symptoms of constipation.
What Are the Five Common Causes of Constipation?
Here are five causes of constipation, which include poor diet and lifestyle habits, medical conditions, and medications.
How Do You Know If You Are Developing IBS?
A doctor will most likely diagnose you with IBS if you have had diarrhea or constipation for more than six weeks.
What Is the Immediate Management for Burns?
Immediate management for burns depends on the severity and extent of skin damage. Learn more about burn treatment.
How Serious Is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a lifelong disease with constant periods of flare-ups and remissions (periods without symptoms, which may last for weeks or years). Presently, there is no permanent medical cure for it, but there are various medications that can provide symptomatic relief, reduce inflammation and manage flare-ups.
What Is the Difference Between IBD and IBS?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are diseases of the intestine. Both the diseases share common symptoms such as fatigue, distressing bowel movements, tummy pain, and the need to pass motions right away.
Is Sore Throat Symptom of Coronavirus?
Sore throat is a potential symptom of coronavirus or COVID-19 infection. Learn about other COVID-19 symptoms and how to protect yourself from the virus.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
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