Slippery Elm Bark

What is slippery elm bark? Slippery elm bark is the inner bark of the slippery elm tree (Ulmus rubra), a species native to North America.1 It has a long history of use in traditional Native American medicine and herbal remedies. Slippery elm bark contains mucilage, a gel-like substance that becomes slippery when mixed with water. This gives it a soothing and protective quality.

What does slippery elm do? It is mostly known as a gut health supplement or as a treatment for sore throat. Learn about slippery elm bark benefits and how to incorporate it into your wellness routine.

What Is Slippery Elm Bark?

The inner bark of slippery elm, not the whole bark, has health properties. The inner bark has chemicals that can increase mucous secretion. This could be helpful for supporting certain health issues, especially in your gut.

Though not as well-known as other traditional treatments, slippery elm bark shows promise for your health. Based on the scientific evidence so far, here are just some potential slippery elm benefits.

Slippery Elm Bark Benefits

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Soothes Sore Throat

Slippery elm bark produces a gel-like substance that coats the throat. The coating provides a protective layer against irritation and inflammation.2 This moisture and lubrication can help reduce discomfort, reduce coughing and support healing.

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Supports Gut Health

Slippery elm bark is believed to form a soothing coating along the digestive tract. This may help ease gut irritation. It also contributes to digestive wellness by promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria.3

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Helps Wounds Heal

Native Americans use slippery elm bark in healing salves to treat wounds, burns, ulcers, boils and other skin issues.4 Slippery elm bark’s emollient properties could help moisturize and hydrate the skin. This creates conditions ideal for wound healing.

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Slippery elm bark contains fibers that act as food for beneficial bacteria in the gut. These fibers are not easily digested but can be fermented by gut bacteria. This produces short-chain fatty acids that nourish the intestinal lining and support gut health.5 By stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria, slippery elm bark has a prebiotic effect. This, in turn, fosters a healthy balance of microorganisms in your gut microbiome.

The Science-Backed Benefits of Slippery Elm Bark

Slippery elm bark has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. However, there is a lack of comprehensive scientific research on its efficacy and safety. The existing body of research on slippery elm bark is limited. This is despite anecdotal evidence and some preliminary studies suggesting potential therapeutic effects. Plus, much of the available research is not recent or involves animal models rather than human participants. This makes it challenging to draw definitive conclusions about slipper elm bark’s effectiveness.

We need more rigorous and up-to-date research. This is especially true for studies with humans. These studies will help us understand the benefits and risks of using slippery elm bark as a natural remedy. However, here are three scientific studies that highlight proven benefits of using slippery elm bark, especially for gut-related health concerns.

Slippery elm helps improve gastrointestinal health in adults with digestive disorders. This is according to a 16-week scientific study.6 Participants took a formula containing slippery elm and other ingredients. They showed significant improvements in gut health. The formula also reduced intestinal permeability. It improved microbiome profiles and reduced the need for reflux medication.

Another study on slippery elm bark highlights its antioxidant effect in fighting harmful molecules in the body.7 The research tested herbal remedies in a lab and on samples from people with a gut condition. Results showed slippery elm bark scavenged free radicals. The study suggests that herbs like slippery elm bark might be helpful as new treatments for gut issues. This is due to their antioxidant effects.

A third study shows slippery elm bark could ease irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. One natural medicine formulation contained slippery elm bark and other ingredients. It showed improvements in bowel movement frequency and various IBS symptoms. Slippery elm bark’s demonstrated benefits suggesting that further research is warranted in this area.8

The Bulletproof Approach to Slippery Elm Bark

We use traditional ingredients and science in our product development and lifestyle recommendations. We respect the ancient wisdom of ancient healing practices. We also leverage modern scientific insights to confirm and optimize their effectiveness. By combining these approaches, we offer a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Gut health is an important part of the Bulletproof approach because it is one of the most important ways to maintain physical and mental wellness. A healthy gut microbiome supports efficient digestion and nutrient absorption. It also influences immune function, mood regulation and even cognitive performance.9 Slippery elm bark may support digestive health. As such, it can be a valuable addition to a healthy diet aimed at nurturing beneficial gut bacteria.

Spotlight on Slippery Elm Bark

We believe that optimizing your wellness routine should be easy and convenient. But how to improve gut health is not always clear. That’s why we’ve incorporated slippery elm bark in The Maximizer coffee. It also has prebiotics and chromium picolinate to support your metabolism, energy and gut health. You can enjoy the functional benefits in every cup.

Besides enhanced coffee, slippery elm bark is also available in other forms, like capsules, powders, teas and lozenges. Whatever type of supplement you choose, make sure it conforms to strict safety and purity protocols. At Bulletproof, we go above and beyond when it comes to our supplement testing standards.

Our Supplement Testing Standards

From sourcing quality ingredients to working with third-party labs, we don’t skip any steps to ensure top-quality supplements you can trust. We formulate our products in effective doses that are scientifically proven to support a balanced mind and body.

We look at research in peer-reviewed journals to make informed choices about our ingredients. We also make sure our supplements adhere to FDA standards for strength, identity, purity and composition.

Every production lot goes through extensive physical and chemical property analysis. We do this to guarantee consistent quality and hold ourselves to the highest standards for efficacy and safety.

We use a special testing method for our coffee products. It’s called Liquid Chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This technique helps us validate the coffee’s properties so you can enjoy a premium experience in every cup.

Also, in addition to our external testing, we have a team of food safety experts. They oversee the ingredient risk assessment process. Their priority is your safety and well-being.


How long does it take for slippery elm to work?

It varies on what health concern you’re treating, the dosage, the frequency of use and your body’s response to the supplement. Some people may feel relief shortly after taking slippery elm bark. Others may need longer-term use to notice a significant difference. Like other supplements, it may take time for you to assess its effectiveness for your specific health issue. Give it a few days or weeks and keep track of how it makes you feel.

What are the side effects of slippery elm bark?

The side effects of slippery elm bark are generally mild and uncommon. Some people may experience nausea or digestive issues after taking it. In rare cases, allergic reactions, such as rash, itching or swelling are possible. If you have medical conditions or take medication, consult a healthcare provider before using slippery elm bark.

Can slippery elm bark interact with medication?

Slippery elm bark may interact with medications you take by mouth. This is because it forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that could affect the absorption of other substances. Your healthcare provider can give you personalized guidance on potential interactions. He or she can also help you determine the safest approach for incorporating slippery elm bark into your healthcare regimen.

How do I choose a slippery elm bark supplement?

Start by considering whether you prefer a supplement in powder, capsule or lozenge form. Next, look for a supplement that prioritizes quality and purity, and uses high-quality ingredients. Check for allergens and filler add-ins that you want to avoid. Look for supplements tested by a third party for purity and potency to ensure their effectiveness and safety. Read customer reviews. Ultimately, choose a slippery elm bark supplement that meets your criteria for quality, efficacy and value.

What does slippery elm bark taste like?

Slippery elm bark has a mild, sweet taste and a texture that becomes slippery when mixed with water, like a thin gel. It is slightly earthy or reminiscent of herbal teas. It has a gentle taste that many find tolerable and even pleasant.

What is slipper elm good for?

Slippery elm bark has soothing properties. These make it beneficial for easing some digestive discomforts. Its mucilaginous nature (a gel-like substance) forms a protective coating in the digestive tract. That coating supports digestive health by reducing irritation and protecting the sensitive lining of the gut. Slippery elm bark also acts as a prebiotic. In this role, it nourishes beneficial gut bacteria and supports a healthy gut microbiome. Finally, slippery elm bark has been used topically in traditional medicine. These uses may ease sore throat, cough and skin irritation, but there is limited scientific evidence to back these claims.

What are the active compounds in slippery elm bark?

The main active compounds in slippery elm bark include mucilage, tannins and polysaccharides. It also has nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Mucilage forms a soothing gel-like substance when mixed with water. Tannins10 have antioxidant properties and astringent properties that help sooth irritation. Polysaccharides11 contribute to the prebiotic effect of slippery elm bark. They nourish beneficial gut bacteria and support a healthy gut microbiome. These compounds work together to contribute to slippery elm’s effects on digestive health and well-being.