Slippery Elm (Ulmus Rubra)

There are a lot of different remedies to treat an upset stomach, but Slippery Elm is said to be one of the most effective.

The Slippery Elm (species known as Ulmus Rubra ), is a species of elm native to eastern North America, ranging from south-east North Dakota, east to Maine and southern Quebec, south to northernmost Florida, and west to eastern Texas, where it thrives in moist uplands, although it will also grow in dry, intermediate soils.

Native Americans have been using Slippery Elm for centuries to cure skin conditions, but also to cure an irritated throat. Cough, IBS, Diarrhoea and colitis.

The part used is the dried inner bark.

The term Slippery comes from the fact that when the powdered bark is mixed with water it becomes a gel that appears slimy and thus slippery.

The bark contains a mucilage substance which has many healing and medicinal properties.

It also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, in addition with various nutrients, such as tannins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, beta-carotene and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C.

Slippery Elm is generally safe for use in pets because of its mild effects.

The inner bark is the therapeutic portion.

The outer bark may cause irritation to the digestive and urinary tract and abortions in pregnant animals and should not be used in preparations.

Now to get to the point
How can Slippery Elm help my pet
In dogs, Slippery Elm is mostly used to treat stomach/ gastrointestinal upset/discomfort.

When mixed with water the mucilage in slippery elm turns the powder thick, slimy that when ingested coats, lubricates and soothes the inflamed mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines, giving relief to dogs suffering from several gastrointestinal disorders.

In order for this to work as a natural “peptobismol”, slippery elm powder can directly be mixed with food or mixed with water until it becomes slimy, and then mix with food.

It tastes bland so easy to give to your pet

Slippery Elm is also good for drawing out impurities and toxins from the body and can help with ulcers, healing damaged mucus membranes and act as a pre-biotic that helps balance good bacteria in the gut

Slippery elm can be used for acute cases of diarrhoea, as well as for colitis and stomach irritations. It helps by reducing inflammation and lubricating the digestive tract with the help of the mucilage that makes up slippery elm. To treat sudden cases of diarrhoea, you can fasten, feed bland food and or give pro-biotic’s (think of Kefir) along with slippery elm to ease symptoms.

Because of slippery elm’s soothing, lubricating properties, the herb can help to relieve and prevent constipation, but additional treatment may be needed.

Heartburn and reflux
Heartburn can also be reduced with slippery elm. as the mucilage coats the oesophagus and reduces the irritation and inflammation that occurs when stomach acid flows up the oesophagus.

It is also effective at treating reflux

In the same way slippery elm reduces inflammation and lubricates the digestive tract, it can also help the upper respiratory system, easing discomforts from coughing associated with kennel cough and bronchitis, helping them to swallow better, but additional treatment may be needed



  • The mucilage in Slippery Elm can decrease the absorption of supplements and or medication, and thus can decrease the efficiency of the supplement/ medication given. To prevent this, give slippery elm at least two hours before or after other supplements/ medication.
  • If you or your pet have been using it for quite some time or if the moment you stop giving slippery elm the symptoms return, there may be an underlying problem that needs vet treatment, E.G. suffering from a chronic issue, or (food) related allergy, pay attention to what your pet’s body is trying to tell you. Just like using a bland diet for an upset stomach, slippery elm should only be used for occasional mild causes of digestive upset of which you know the cause, E.G. diet change, stress, extreme weather changes etc.
  • If your pet acts lethargic, develops other symptoms, or you see blood in the stools you, see your vet.

US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Clinical Advisor
Milton S.Hershey Medical Centre
John H. Cooley and J. W. Van Sambeek
Health Line
Ingigo Herbs
2002 Study
2016 Sturdy