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Monday, March 22, 2010


by Moggy
SLIPPERY ELM BARK (Ulmus fulva) held a place of honor in 18th and 19th century America until our once-great elm forests were decimated by Dutch elm disease; as a result, our herbal healing heritage is poorer by far. This herb is a demulcent (soothing, mucilage-forming), emollient (soothing and protective for skin), expectorant, diuretic, nutritive (providing specific food nutrients) and one of the most valuable remedies in herbal practice. The parts used are the inner bark. The powder should be greyish or faun colored and can be used for making poultices or mucilaginous drinks. Its mucilage content coats, soothes, and lubricates the mucus membranes lining the digestive tract, making Slippery Elm an excellent treatment for ulcers, gastritis, colitis, and other inflammatory bowel problems. Its high fiber content helps normalize intestinal action; it can be used to relieve both diarrhea and constipation.
Colonials were taught by American Indians to use slippery elm bark as both a food and as a treatment for wounds, sore throat, and many other ailments. Before refrigeration, the bark was soaked in water and wrapped around meats to retard spoilage...it was coarsely ground and mixed with water to turn it into a spongy mass to mold into bandages that were used to cover wounds. To make a poultice for wounds, stir enough water into the powdered bark to make a paste and apply to the site. It will form a natural bandage that will stay in place for hours and can be removed by moistening with water.
Slippery elm bark is not only most soothing and healing to all parts to which it comes into contact, it also possesses as much nutrition as is contained in oatmeal...and when made into a gruel, forms a wholesome and sustaining food for children, elders, and invalids.
Mix one heaping teaspoonful of the herb into a thin and perfectly smooth paste with cold water. When thoroughly mixed, pour on one pint of distilled water, steadily stirring. If desired, it can be flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon rind, etc. This makes an excellent drink in cases of irritation of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, and if taken at night at retiring, will induce sleep. As mentioned above, this remedy is valuable for those suffering gastro-intestinal disorders.
Slippery elm bark is considered safe for pregnant women, infants, elderly, dogs and cats.
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