Slippery Elm Bark to help relieve sore throat and coughs

Slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra) is a type of herb that grows predominantly across North America. It usually grows around 40 to 60 feet (12 to 19 meters). Its heartwood is reddish in color; thus, the term ‘rubra’ (‘red’ in Latin). The inner bark of slippery elm tree is mucilaginous. Aside from its medicinal uses, the fibrous inner bark of slippery elm can also be used to make ropes, fabric and mats. The collection of slippery elm bark occurs mainly during spring.

Alternative names

Indian Elm

Soft Elm

Red Elm

Moose Elm

Who would benefit from it?

The soothing and detoxifying action of slippery elm bark makes it beneficial for people who have problems in their digestive organs. This herbal medicine alleviates diarrhea, heartburn, stomach ulcers, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and related mucus membrane diseases.


  • It is used for overall internal detoxification.

  • It is often used to relieve sore throat and cough. You can actually find throat lozenges containing slippery elm bark.

  • Because it is naturally mucilaginous, slippery elm bark helps soothe, clear and detoxify the body’s mucus membranes.

  • Although it’s considered medicinal, it is also possible to add it to oatmeal and porridge for adults and infants.

  • Aside from being an emollient, it is also an expectorant. Because of this, it is useful for deworming. It is so potent that it was used as an herbal abortifacient before being banned in some countries.

  • It soothes the urinary tract.

  • It promotes female reproductive health.

  • Applied topically, it helps in healing wounds and preventing inflammation.

Detailed Information on its Benefits

Although its leaves are made into tea, the main benefit of slippery elm comes from its bark, specifically the inner part. The odor of the bark slightly resembles the scent of fenugreek seeds. The benefits of slippery elm bark can be attributed to its mucilage, which is rich in nutrients and vitamins such as beta-sitosterol, beta-carotene campestrol, tannin, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C and zinc.

It forms a protective and nutritive layer on any surface it comes in contact with. It then exhibits anti-inflammatory, astringent, demulcent and emollient activities. Slippery elm bark is one of the easiest foods to digest, making it suitable for infants and recovering patients.

Should you Consider Taking It?

Overall, the benefits offered by slippery elm bark can help deal with the array of health problems suffered by millions. As an herbal medicine, it is worth trying.

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