Slippery Elm

Ulmas rubra

A medium sized tree growing to 20m (65ft) in height. The branches range in colour from red through to orange and brown, growing in a downward direction. The clusters of dense, stalkless flowers are predominantly red in colour. The bark has a slight but distinct odour. The bast or inner bark is traditionally sold in flat pieces 2-3 ft (60cm-1m) in length.

Family: Ulmaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Slippery elm is a key ingredient in Revive

Habit and cultivation: Native to North America and grows well in poor soil conditions along river banks and damp meadows. Can be grown from seed in spring, is frost and drought tender and still collected wild.

Actions (known for): Demulcent, emollient and nutrient.


Slippery elm succumbs to many of the diseases common to the Elm family and is being reduced to immature saplings unable to supply the inner bark ‘bast’ necessary for medicinal needs. The name derives from the texture when water is added to the inner bark. Native Americans used this inner bark for herbal products in their communities for as long as has been recorded. Currently it has the same uses.

Parts used:

Inner bark, collected in spring.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Mucilage (polysaccharides) and tannins.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamins: A, K and P. Minerals: iron, sodium, calcium, selenium, iodine, copper and zinc.


Soothing to the digestive, respiratory and urinary tracts. Oesophagitis, colitis, peptic ulcer, gastritis, diarrhoea convalescence. Topically: boils, burns, wounds and abscesses.


Powdered bark: 5-20ml (made into a paste) and added in 10 x the amount of water. Ingested as many times as needed usually before food. Topically: as a poultice with water as hot as is bearable without damaging the surrounding skin.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Gastric or duodenum ulceration. Boils and abscesses (poultice).

Cautions for therapeutic doses

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