Slippery Elm Bark

6 min read

Health Benefits of Slippery Elm Bark

When considering the sea of natural health solutions out there, slippery elm bark isn’t top-of-mind for many people. But, believe it or not, eating the bark off of an old elm tree is linked to a slew of health benefits. In this article, we’re sharing all about this amazing tree bark and why you need it in your life.

What is slippery elm bark?

If you have spent time in the eastern parts of the United States and Canada, you may have seen a slippery elm tree many times without even realizing it. Known for its dark brown and reddish bark, this mighty tree can be found as north as Quebec and as south as Florida. It can also be found in parts of Texas.

The inner bark of this tree contains mucilage—a viscous and gelatinous substance found in plants that can be used for medicinal purposes. Slippery elm gets its name because mucilage is known for its slipperiness when it is mixed with water. The inner bark is the part that is used for healing and medicinal purposes.

What is slippery elm bark good for?

Although data is limited, anecdotally, slippery elm is commonly used to aid in minor sore throat relief and skin rashes. Some also report that it relieves heartburn symptoms.

Because it is thick and gelatinous, it coats the throat and esophagus to soothe irritation and inflammation. It works the same way on the skin with minor rashes, burns, and wounds.

Potential Slippery Elm Benefits

Slippery elm has been associated with some health benefits and can be viewed as a remedy to some common ailments. Some ways slippery elm can help support a healthy lifestyle include:

  • Gastric reflux relief. Some data suggests that slippery elm may offer some heartburn relief[1]. Thanks to the mucilage, the esophagus can be coated enough to protect your body from feeling the effects of the acidic reflux.
  • Cough suppressant. Again, thanks to the mucilage, your throat can become coated with a protective layer that can help you kick that tickle in your throat. Data also shows that taking slippery elm bark can offer some relief for those suffering from laryngitis[2].
  • Anti-inflammatory agent. This natural herb has been used to treat inflammation in complementary and alternative medicinal practices.[2] And taking it may help keep chronic inflammation at bay.
  • An alternative therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. Slippery elm bark is thought to have soothing properties in inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, and is a popular remedy among those with inflammatory bowel disease in the UK[3].

Other Notable Uses for Slippery Elm

While you may have heard that slippery elm can be helpful for weight loss, there are no clinical studies to support this claim. It should be noted that while slippery elm is most commonly used to help alleviate minor ailments, be cautious when relying on it to treat more serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer—no clinical data is supporting the claim that slippery elm is an effective treatment for these types of diseases. Remember, always consult your healthcare provider with questions and concerns.

Slippery Elm Side Effects and Dosage

While most can take slippery elm without notable side effects, because it coats the digestive tract, it may slow the absorption of other medications. A good rule of thumb is to time the supplementation of slippery elm about two hours after taking any medications. For some using slippery elm topically, it may cause skin irritation.

The dosing of slippery elm bark is very individual and can be influenced by several factors, such as age, weight, and health status. Traditional use suggests a dosage of 1 to 3 tsp of slippery elm powder in 240 mL of water, up to 3 times a day[4]. Beyond traditional guidance, no clinical studies exist to support dosage guidelines.

Since there is no data to ensure the safety of taking this herb during pregnancy and lactation, it should be avoided during that time.

Why is Slippery Elm Bark in OLIPOP

When considering which ingredients you want to see in your soda, why wouldn’t you want something that is soothing to the tummy and contains antioxidants to help combat oxidative stress? Having the addition of slippery elm is just one more way that OLIPOP tries to provide your body with gut-friendly and better-for-you ingredients in a delicious vessel. So, enjoy your OLIPOP knowing that you are doing something good for your body while making your taste buds happy too.

  1. Ahuja, Amisha, and Nitin K Ahuja. “Popular Remedies for Esophageal Symptoms: a Critical Appraisal.” Current gastroenterology reportsvol. 21,8 39. 10 Jul. 2019, doi:10.1007/s11894-019-0707-4
  2. Watts, Christopher and Rousseau Bernard. Slippery Elm, its Biochemistry, and use as a Complementary and Alternative Treatment for Laryngeal Irritation. American Journal of Physiology and Biochemical Pharmacology. Vol. 1, 2012. pp.17-23. doi: 10.5455/jib.20120417052415
  3. Langmead, L et al. “Antioxidant effects of herbal therapies used by patients with inflammatory bowel disease: an in vitro study.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics vol. 16,2 (2002): 197-205. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2036.2002.01157.x
  4. “Slippery Elm”. Accessed June 28 2021.
Cheat Sheet
  • Slippery elm has been associated with some health benefits and can be viewed as a remedy to some common ailments.
  • Slippery elm bark is soothing to the tummy and contains antioxidants to help combat oxidative stress.

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