Slippery elm is a tree native to North America. Historically, the Native Americans used the inner bark of slippery elm for exterior wounds as well as internal problems like sore throat and diarrhea.1 Because slippery elm contains a substance known as mucilage, it creates a gel when mixed with water.2 You can take this mixture orally to coat the mouth and digestive organs. This makes a slippery elm natural remedy effective in digestive conditions like Crohn's disease.1 Among slippery elm benefits, it’s also rich in antioxidants and can help stimulate mucus secretion to protect against ulcers.1 Slippery elm is available as tablets and capsules, lozenges, and powder (for teas and extracts).1
Slippery elm benefits are most commonly associated with digestive issues, including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea.2 Because it helps improve digestion, you may be able to take slippery elm for weight loss.2 With a high antioxidant content, it can help in preventing cancers like breast cancer. Women with breast cancer may also benefit from slippery elm’s anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects, which can help relieve pain.2 It’s also said to improve depression, anxiety, and fatigue in women with breast cancer when mixed with other herbs like burdock root, Indian rhubarb, and sheep sorrel.2 Slippery elm also benefits external skin conditions like psoriasis when applied topically.2 Other slippery elm uses include for the following conditions:
Slippery elm side effects are minimal and rare. However, since it coats the lining of the digestive tract, it may slow the absorption of other drugs. If you’re taking slippery elm for Crohn’s disease or other digestive problem, be sure to take it at least two hours before other medications.1 Avoid taking slippery elm if you are pregnant or breastfeeding unless under the care of a physician.1 Though slippery elm side effects aren’t known to include interactions with other medications, it’s best to talk to your doctor about other medications you’re taking to ensure a slippery elm natural remedy is a good treatment option for you.