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Slippery Elm - What is Slippery Elm?


Slippery Elm Tree

Slippery Elm taken in Birmingham Botanical Gardens

©Steve Nix, About.com


Slippery Elm is actually the inner bark of the Elm tree. It is used for many herbal preparations, many of which relieve throat and digestive issues. The light, fluffy bark is commonly used as a binder for making herbal pills, and as a light non stick type coating for keeping lozenges from sticking together.

Latin Name:

Ulmus Fulva

Common Name:

Slippery Elm, Soft Elm

USDA Hardiness Zone:

Most commonly found in Zone 3-9


Sun to partial shade. More tolerant of shade than many deciduous trees.

Harvest :

The inner bark is the part used. It is best harvested in spring, when the sap is flowing. Consider purchasing this inexpensive but invaluable herbal ingredient from a eco friendly herbal supplier.


Slippery Elm bark is a highly nutritive food. The soft inner bark can be fed as a healing food, to anyone suffering illness. It is easily digestible, and usually fed in a porridge or mixed with oatmeal. Slippery Elm's mucilage properties make it effective for soothing irritated mucous membranes and the digestive tract.

Slippery Elm is useful as a binder for making pills, boluses and as a natural dusting powder to keep your herbal drops from sticking together. It is also used in a gentle body powder, in salves and lip balms and other skin soothing balms. Because of Dutch Elm Disease and over harvesting, it would be best to purchase from a conscientious herbal dealer.

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