Ulmus rubra




Botanical Name: Ulmus rubra
Common name: Slippery Elm (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
Family: Ulmaceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
Parts used: Inner bark (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)

Constituents: Mulcilage (galactose, methyl-3 galactose, rhamnose and galacturonic acid residue) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)



  • Demulcent (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
  • Emollient (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
  • Astringent (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
  • Anti-inflammatory (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)


Traditional Indications & History

Native to Eastern Canada and Eastern and Central US, found mostly in Appalachian Mountains (Abrams, Basch, Catapang, Costa, Flanagan, Hashmi, Isaac, Smith, Ulbricht, Weissner & Woods, 2013, p.1). The name refers to the consistency of the inner bark when it is chewed or mixed with water (Abrams et al., 2013, p.1). Used traditionally by Native American Healers to treat irritated skin and mucus membranes (Abrams et al., 2013, p. 2). Ground inner bark was often added to milk as a nutrient for infants and the chronically ill (Abrams et al., 2013, p. 2). Poultices were also made from the bark and applied to bruises, minor burns and abrasions (Abrams et al., 2013, p.2).


Indications (contemporary)

  • Throat irritation (Abrams et al., 2013, p. 2)
  • Gastritis (Abrams et al., 2013, p. 2; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
  • Colitis (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
  • Ulcers (Abrams et al., 2013, p. 2; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
  • Nappy rash (topical) (Abrams et al., 2013, p. 2)
  • Diarrhoea (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)

In contemporary herbal medicine the herb is used as an ingredient in a number of lozenges to sooth throat irritation (Abrams et al., 2013, p. 2).

Seen as simultaneously soothing and astringing the intestinal lining (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591).


Preparation & Dosage

  • Decocotion: (1:8) ½ cup/tds (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
  • Poultice (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)
  • Capsules & Tablets: 200-500mg tablets of capsules/tid-qid (Abrams et al., 2013, p. 3)



May slow the absorption of orally administed drugs (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 591)



Known allergy (Abrams et al., 2013, p.4).



One of four primary ingredients in the herbal cancer remedy Essiac® (Abrams et al., 2013, p.1).


Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Abrams, T., Basch, E., Catapang, M., Costa, D., Flanagan, K., Hashmi, S., Isaac, R., Smith, M., Ulbricht, C., Weissner, W., & Woods, J. (2013). Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra, Ulmus fulva). Natural Standard Professional Monograph. Retrieved from: http://www.naturalstandard.com/index-abstract.asp?create-abstract=slipperyelm.asp&title=Slippery%20elm

All Images: USDA. (2009). Flora of USA and Canada. Retrieved from: http://luirig.altervista.org/schedenam/fnam.php?taxon=Ulmus+rubra

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