Slippery Elm bark herbal dietary supplement benefit and side effects by Ray Sahelian, M.D. Ulmus rubra
March 1 2016

Slippery Elm is a species of elm tree native to eastern North America from North Dakota east to southern Quebec and south to northernmost Florida and eastern Texas. Slippery elm inner bark is very rich in mucilage, a complex mixture of polysaccharides that form a gelatinous fiber when water is added.

How is Slippery Elm available over the counter?
Slippery elm bark is available as slippery elm powder, slippery elm lozenge and slippery elm tea.

This herb is used as a demulcent and could be of benefit in treating a sore throat. It soothes and protects mucosal tissues.

Slippery Elm Bark study
Medical nutrition therapy as a potential complementary treatment for psoriasis--five case reports.
Altern Med Rev. 2004. Brown AC, Hairfield M, Richards DG, McMillin DL, Mein EA, Nelson CD. Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 
This research evaluated five case studies of patients with psoriasis following a dietary regimen. There is no cure for psoriasis and the multiple treatments currently available only attempt to reduce the severity of symptoms. Treatments range from topical applications, systemic therapies, and phototherapy; while some are effective, many are associated with significant adverse effects. There is a need for effective, affordable therapies with fewer side effects that address the causes of the disorder. Evaluation consisted of a study group of five patients diagnosed with chronic plaque psoriasis (two men and three women, average age 52 years; range 40-68 years) attending a 10-day, live-in program during which a physician assessed psoriasis symptoms and bowel permeability. Subjects were then instructed on continuing the therapy protocol at home for six months. The dietary protocol, based on Edgar Cayce readings, included a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, small amounts of protein from fish and fowl, fiber supplements, olive oil, and avoidance of red meat, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates. Saffron tea and slippery elm bark water were consumed daily. The five psoriasis cases, ranging from mild to severe at the study onset, improved on all measured outcomes over a six-month period when measured by the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) (average pre- and post-test scores were 18.2 and 8.7, respectively), the Psoriasis Severity Scale (PSS) (average pre- and post-test scores were 14.6 and 5.4, respectively), and the lactulose/mannitol test of intestinal permeability (average pre- and post-test scores were 0.066 to 0.026, respectively). These results suggest a dietary regimen based on Edgar Cayce's readings may be an effective medical nutrition therapy for the complementary treatment of psoriasis; however, further research is warranted to confirm these results.

Peroxynitrite scavenging activity of herb extracts.
Phytother Res. 2002.
Peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)) is a cytotoxicant with strong oxidizing properties toward various cellular constituents, including sulphydryls, lipids, amino acids and nucleotides and can cause cell death, lipid peroxidation, carcinogenesis and aging. The aim of this study was to characterize ONOO(-) scavenging constituents from herbs. The potency of scavenging activity following the addition of authentic ONOO(-) was in the following order: witch hazel bark > rosemary > jasmine tea > sage > slippery elm > black walnut leaf > Queen Anne's lace > Linden flower. The extracts exhibited dose-dependent ONOO(-) scavenging activities. We found that witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) bark showed the strongest effect for scavenging ONOO(-) of the 28 herbs. Hamamelitannin, the major active component of witch hazel bark, was shown to have a strong ability to scavenge ONOO(-). It is suggested that hamamelitannin might be developed as an effective peroxynitrite scavenger for the prevention of ONOO(-) involved diseases. Slippery elm powder and tree.

Essiac for cancer?
Treatmentupdate. 1998.
AIDS: An analysis of a mixture of herbs in Essiac, an alternative-medicine anti-cancer therapy, has shown it contains a variety of compounds which have antioxidant activity as well as the ability to block cell growth. The Essiac mixture contains burdock root, Indian rhubarb, sheep sorrel, inner bark of slippery elm, watercress, blessed thistle, red clover, and kelp. A review of patients taking Essiac shows that there was no obvious toxicity. Clinical trials are recommended to determine Essiac's efficacy.

Notes Undergr. 1995.
Essiac, an herbal formulation from the Ojibway Indians in Canada, is composed of four herbs: burdock root, sheep sorrel, turkey rhubarb root, and slippery elm bark. After her discovery of Essiac in 1922, Rene Caisse reported treating and "curing" hundreds of people with cancer and other chronic diseases. The rights to the "original" Essiac now belong to Elaine Alexander of Vancouver, who is currently working with an unnamed health products company to research, test, manufacture, and distribute Essiac. However, there are a variety of sources for Essiac in the United States. According to former chiropractor Gary Glum, sheep's sorrel destroys cancer cells; the other three herbs are blood purifiers. In addition, Dr. Jim Chan, naturopathic physician, says burdock root contains inulin, a powerful immune modulator. However, there has been no basic research done with these herbs to demonstrate their true mechanisms of action. In addition, only anecdotal reports provide information about results. Only laboratory and clinical studies will confirm the anti-tumor and immune-modulating effects of Essiac. Slippery elm herb.

Phytochem Anal. 2009. Characterisation of phenolics in Flor-Essence--a compound herbal product and its contributing herbs. Commercially available herbal mixture FE, a proprietary natural health product manufactured by Flora Manufacturing and Distributing Ltd (Flora), is a unique North American traditional herbal product. FE is a chemically complex mixture of eight herbs and has not been subjected to phytochemical analysis. To develop analytical methods to undertake detailed phytochemical analyses of FE, and its eight contributing herbs, including burdock (Arctium lappa), sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), Turkish rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), slippery elm Muhl. (Ulmus rubra), watercress (Nasturtium officinale), red clover Trifolium pratense, blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus) and kelp (Laminaria digitata).

Traditional use
For centuries Native Americans have used slippery elm as a traditional medicine. Singers and public speakers use slippery elm as a throat-soothing lozenge. In fact, during the American Revolution, even gunshot wounds were routinely treated with a poultice of this herb.

Additional pages of interest
5-htp for relaxation and appetite control; ahcc for immune influence; coq10 for metabolism; Graviola has anti-tumor properties as found in lab studies; impotence can be helped naturally; Mangosteen is a tropical fruit; serrapeptase is a potent enzyme; saw palmetto is used for prostate help; sexual enhancement is quite easily possible with herbs.