Slippery elm has been used orally for coughs, sore throat, colic, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cystitis, urinary inflammation, urinary tract infections, syphilis, herpes, and for expelling tapeworms. It is also used orally for protecting against stomach and duodenal ulcers, for colitis, diverticulitis, GI inflammation, and acidity (1).
Preliminary clinical research suggests that taking a specific formulation containing slippery elm inner bark, lactulose, oat bran, and licorice root can improve stool frequency by 20% and reduce abdominal pain and bloating in people with constipation-predominant IBS compared to baseline. Also, taking a different formulation containing slippery elm inner bark, bilberry fruit, cinnamon quilts, and agrimony aerial parts can reduce abdominal pain, bloating, and flatulence in people with diarrhea-predominant IBS compared to pretreatment, although stool frequency is increased in these individuals as well (2).
- Hawrelak JA and Myers SP. Effects of two natural medicine formulations on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(10):1065-1071.
- Pierce A. The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines. The Stonesong Press. 1999:19.