Slippery Elm

Slippery ElmSlippery Elm

The problems caused by histamine intolerance can include digestive upsets. Slippery elm is one efficacious natural remedy that has been traditionally used to ease such complaints as –

  • coughs
  • sore throats
  • colic
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • hemorrhoids
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

It is also used to provide gentle protection against:

  • stomach and duodenal ulcers
  • colitis
  • diverticulitis
  • gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation
  • excess stomach acid.

This remarkable remedy is actually the powdered inner bark of an elm tree (Ulmus rubra/Ulmus fulva) which is native to North America.  Useful medicinal plants often accumulate a long list of alternative common names, and Slippery Elm is no exception. It is also known as:

  • Indian Elm
  • Moose Elm
  • Olmo Americano
  • Orme, Orme Gras, Orme Rouge, Orme Roux
  • Red Elm
  • Sweet Elm

Commercial manufacturers include slippery elm as an ingredient in some foods for infants and adults, as well as in some medicines. Slippery elm throat pastilles are useful for soothing sore throats. You can make your own slippery elm pastilles at home.

Slippery Elm Throat Pastilles


  • 1 teaspoon dried, chopped licorice root
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup slippery elm powder
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup or maple syrup or pasteurized honey


  • In a small saucepan, combine the licorice root with water and bring to a boil.
  • Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the licorice water through a fine mesh sieve to remove licorice root pieces.
  • Place the sweetener (e.g. golden syrup) into a measuring cup. Add enough of the licorice water to make ¼ cup. If there’s not enough licorice water, top it up with plain water.
  • Pour slippery elm powder into a small bowl and make a ‘well’ in the middle. Pour the sweetened licorice water into the well and stir well, mixing to the consistency of dough.
  • On a clean surface, scatter a little slippery elm powder to prevent sticking, then roll out the dough until it is about a ¼ inch (½ cm) thick.
  • Cut the pastilles into small rounds. To make it easier, you can use the clean cap of a small bottle as a guide.
  • Distribute the pastilles on a plate and allow them to air-dry in a cool, well-ventilated place where the air is clean. It can take up to three days for them to dry out. Turn them over to make sure they are dry on both sides.
  • Store in an air-tight, light-proof container in a cool place.

To use, place a pastille in your mouth and allow it to slowly dissolve. The slippery elm will coat your throat with a protective layer, allowing healing to take place.