Ulmus rubra

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-18 (EDT)

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Slippery elm.jpg

Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) is known for its ability to soothe inflamed mucous membranes of the digestive, respiratory and urinary systems as well as a number of skin conditions. To explore the characteristics, medicinal uses and prescribing considerations of this herb in more detail, check out the references indicated.[1], [2]


  • Common Names: Slippery Elm, Red Elm, Moose Elm, Indian Elm, American Elm
  • Family: Ulmaceae
  • Habitat: Ulmus rubra is native to North America. It thrives on high ground and dry soil. The species is considered "at risk".
  • Parts Used: Inner bark
  • Constituents: mucilage and tannins
  • Medicinal Actions: demulcent, emollient, nutritive, astringent, anti-inflammatory, laxative, vulnerary


Historical Uses:

Ulmus rubra was used by Native North Americans for digestive complaints, fever, colds, urinary symptoms, and externally for wounds, boils, ulcers, and inflamed eyes.

Medicinal Uses:

  • Other Conditions


  • boils, splinters, and abscesses (drawing action), ulcers, skin protection
  • Other Conditions

Prescribing Considerations

The information provided is intended to augment the treatment from a naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional. Although most herbs are generally safe, it is recommended that you avoid self-prescribing especially when there is an underlying ongoing medical condition, if you are on any prescription medications or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Formulations and Preparation

  • Infusion - 1-2 tsp of powdered root stirred into 1/2-1 cup of warm water three times daily
  • Capsule - 200g three times daily for bronchitis
  • Tablet - for diarrhea
  • Poultice - mix coarse powdered root with enough boiling water to make a paste


The safety and prescribing considerations for this herb include:[3] [4]

  • Generally regarded as safe.
  • Side-effects are not generally seen.
  • Bark may be abortifacient (producing abortion).
  • Drug-Herb Interactions are rare.[2]
  • May cause reduced absorption of oral drugs (speculative)


  1. Boon Heather, Smith Michael (2009) 55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs: The Complete Natural Medicine Guide Second Edition Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, CCNM Toronto.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul, Barlow Kerry, Gowan Matt (2011) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Advanced Botanical Medicine. V3 CCNM Press, Toronto.
  3. Stargrove Mitchell Bebell, Treasure Jonathan, McKee Dwight L (2008) Herb, Nutrient and Drug Interactions: Clinical Implications and Therapeutic Strategies.
  4. Brinker Francis (1997) Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions: Plus Herbal Adjuncts With Medicines, 4th Edition Eclectic Medical Publications.