Slippery elm is a tree. The inner bark (not the whole bark) is used as medicine. Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) has been used as an herbal remedy in North America for centuries. Native Americans used slippery elm in healing salves for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, and skin inflammation. It was also taken orally to relieve coughs, sore throats, diarrhea, and stomach problems. People also take slippery elm for constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bladder and urinary tract infections, syphilis, herpes, and for expelling tapeworms. It is also used for protecting against stomach and duodenal ulcers, for colitis, diverticulitis, GI inflammation, and too much stomach acid. Slippery elm is also taken by mouth to cause an abortion. Slippery elm is applied to the skin for wounds, burns, gout, rheumatism, cold sores, boils, abscesses, ulcers, toothaches, sore throat, and as a lubricant to ease labor.