Slippery Elm: “An Early American Favorite”

Cough, Digestion, Sore Throat, Wounds

Also Known As: Indian Elm, Red Elm


In the days before refrigeration, slippery elm was soaked in water and wrapped around meats. When it is coarsely grounded and mixed in water, it turns into a spongy mass. Back in the days, it was molded into bandages to cover up wounds and was made into pill like form to cover unpleasant tasting medicines.

When mixed with milk or water, slippery elm became a nutritious food to eat similar to oatmeal. Also, lozenges were made to combat a cough or sore throat. Slippery elm is still listed in the National Formulary, the pharmacist’s reference guide and health food stores still sell slippery elm lozenges today.


  • Decoction:

To prevent lumpiness, slowly add 1 to 3 teaspoons of powdered herb to 1 cup of boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Drink 3 cups daily. The aroma of slippery elm is reminiscent of maple.

To bandage wounds, stir enough water into powdered bark to make a past and apply it to the affected wound.

USE: (Grow Your Own)

Slippery elm reaches 60 feet in height. The trunk bark is brown, but the branch bark is a whitish color. Leaves are rough, hairy, toothed and broad. Check your local nursery to see if slippery elm is grown in your area.


Use the herb in medicinal amounts. Consult your health advisor if you experience any symptoms.