American tree, elm, gray
elm, Indian elm, moose elm, red elm, rock elm, soft elm,
sweet elm, tawny elm
tree to 50 feet with ridged, dark brown bark and whitish,
aromatic inner bark.
The leaf buds are covered
in thick yellowish felt.
The alternate, roughish,
leaves are dark green and oblong to obovate with serrated
Dense clusters of
inconspicuous flowers without stalks appear in spring.
Prefers poor soil in open
and elevated areas; also found in woods and by streams.
Propagate by seed sown in
autumn or by suckers in autumn, or by layering in autumn, or
by semiripe cuttings in summer or by grafting.
Plants can be damaged by
aphids, caterpillars, gall mites and fungal infections.
Commercial collection of
the inner bark in spring can lead to permanent damage or
destruction of the tree.
especially after taking into account the harmful effect of
Dutch elm disease, the slippery elm is becoming less common
in the wild and supplies of the inner bark are limited.
The bark is stripped from
the trunk and large branches in the spring.
Ten-year-old bark is
The roots are harvest at
elm bark is an old-established Native American remedy, hence
the tree’s common name, Indian elm. The Ojibwas made a tea
from the inner bark to treat sore throat.
Used as an ointment,
Slippery Elm sap was employed in Thomsonian medicine during
labor as a lubricant for the midwife’s hand when she
ascertained the presentation of the infant internally.
Slippery Elm sticks were
used in some North American Indian tribes to provoke
abortion by inserting them into the cervix.
This practice resulted in
a law in some states that slippery elm bark be broken into
pieces no longer than 1.5 inches in length before being sold
to discourage its use for this purpose.
emollient, nutrient, laxative, astringent, vulnerary, yin
Medicinal Uses: A tea of
the moist inner bark was taken for digestive problems,
particularly diarrhea, since it is rich in a soothing
mucilage. It will soothe and astringe at the same time.
After the inner bark has
been soaked in warm water, it produces a mucilage that has
been used to soften the skin and protect it from chapping
and to hasten the healing of skin wounds.
It makes a soothing and
nourishing food and herbalists consider it one of the best
remedies for healing inflammations of the gastro-intestinal
tract. It may be used in gastritis, gastric or duodenal
ulcer, enteritis, colitis and the like.
It is a useful remedy for
urinary problems such as chronic cystitis.
Slippery elm has been used
to treat all manner of chest conditions and has a soothing
effect on everything from coughs and bronchitis to pleurisy
The powdered bark,
commonly known as slippery elm food, may be sold
commercially as a nourishing drink for convalescents and
those recovering from gastro-intestinal illnesses.
Externally the bark makes
an excellent poultice for use in cases of burns, boils,
abscesses or ulcers.
It works very well as a
“drawing” poultice for boils and splinters.
Native Americans used the
bark, beaten to a pulp, to treat gunshot wounds and help
They also used it to treat
fever, diarrhea, and respiratory infections, and made a tea
from boiled roots to assist women in childbirth.
Digestive problems: marshmallow
Decoction: Use 1 part of the
powdered bark to 8 parts of water.
Mix the powder in a little
water initially to ensure it will mix.
Bring to the boil and
simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
Drink half a cup three times a
Mix the coarse powdered bark with enough boiling water to
make a paste
1/3 oz catnip leaves
1/3 oz comfrey leaves
slippery elm powder
2 cups water
Infuse the plants in the
boiling water for 10 minutes.
Strain and let cool to
lukewarm; combine the slippery elm powder in the teapot.
Allow to swell for 10 minutes.
Take small sips between
meals or during a crisis.
In a paste (with 6 Tbsp
water), it can be applied to all kinds of skin ulcerations.
drops cayenne tincture
30 drops burdock tincture
drops goldenseal tincture
10 drops ginger root tincture
½ cup slippery elm tea
1 cup warm water
Combine all ingredients.
Take 2-3 tablespoons three times per day to improve
1 tsp burdock root
1 tsp goldenseal root
2 tsp slippery elm bark
2 slices ginger root
3 cups boiling water
Combine the above herbs in
a nonmetallic container, and pour the boiling water over
Steep for 30 minutes,
cool, and strain.
Take up to one cup a day,
two tablespoons at a time.
Veterinary Use: It can be
fed to convalescing animals as a nutritional digestive
tonic—1 teaspoon of the dried inner bark steeped in 8 oz of
hot water to which 1 tsp of honey has been added.
If constipation is a
problem, 1 tsp of yogurt can be added to the mixture.
If the animal cannot
tolerate honey, eliminate it from the recipe.
A glycerine-based tincture
is also effective.
A good starting dose is
¼-1/2 tsp for each 20 lbs of animal’s body weight, once or
Pounded dried inner bark,
decoction of dried bark and tincture of fresh bark used for
constipation, deafness, hemorrhoids, herpes, pain, syphilis
Uses: Gender: Cold.
Parts Used: Leaves, Bark.
Basic Power: Protection.
Slippery elm is hung
around a child’s neck to ensure speaking skills in later
Burn and use in charm bags
to stop others from gossiping about you or your friends.
Powder slippery elm bark.
Place it in a bag around a
child’s neck to encourage development of a persuasive
Banish Gossip Spell:
Create a fire in a cauldron or fireplace.
Burn slippery elm in the
While it’s burning, knot a
yellow cord, tying your desire and frustration into the
Throw the cord into the
To remove skin
blemishes, it is used warm, spread over the face and left
for two hours before washing off.
It will also take
inflammation from skin made sore by sun or cold wind.
Used with marshmallow and
lard or olive oil it makes a soothing face cream.
Take 2 oz of marshmallow
leaves and 2 oz slippery elm leaves and boil in 2 pints of
water for 20 minutes. Then strain or remove the marshmallow
Melt together 1 lb of
refined lard and 3 oz beeswax in a saucepan over a low
flame, then stir in slowly the extract of slippery elm and
marshmallow until completely mixed in and our into screw top
jars before the mixture becomes cold and sets.
Slippery elm has the power
of preventing cream from becoming rancid.
Use a little to massage
into the face and neck at bedtime.
Mask: Mix a teaspoonful of
the powdered bark of slippery elm with enough hot water to
form a creamy consistency.
When cool, apply to the
Leave on for 20 minutes
and wash off in warm water containing a teaspoonful of lemon
The mask will rid the skin
of blemishes and leave it smooth and clean.
It is soothing and
Taken regularly, slippery elm is nutritious and
is an excellent
food in convalescence and
debilitated states, especially if the digestion is weak
or overly sensitive.
It is also a good baby food.
Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman,
Element, 1996; ISBN: 1-85230-758-7
Cosmetics from the Earth, Roy Genders,
Alfred van der Marck Editions, 1985; ISBN: 0-912383-20-8
The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, Judika
Illes, Harper Collins, 2004
A Field Guide to
& Connie Krochmal, Times Books, 1984; ISBN:
Herbs for Pets, Mary L.
Wulff-Tilford & Gregory L. Tilford, Bowtie, 2000; ISBN:
Magical Herbalism, Scott
Cunningham, Llewllyn Publications, 1982, ISBN:
Secret Native American Herbal
Remedies, Anthony J Cichoke, Avery Books, 2001;
Medicinal Plants, Anny Schneider, Stackpole
Books, 2002; ISBN: 0-8117-2987-7
brought to you by The Herb Growing & Marketing Network,
PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575-0245; 717-393-3295;
FAX: 717-393-9261; email: email@example.com
URL: http://www.herbalpedia.com Editor: Maureen
All rights reserved.
Material herein is derived from journals,
textbooks, etc. THGMN cannot be held responsible for the
validity of the information contained in any reference
noted herein, for the misuse of information or any
adverse effects by use of any stated material presented.