Slippery Elm Bark (Ulmus rubra), Nature's Demulcent.
The slippery elm is a small deciduous tree native to North America. It can grow to 50-60 feet in height with the trunk measuring one to four feet in diameter. This tree prefers moist, rich uplands such as along stream banks and woods. The inner bark is white with a distinctive scent and contains mucilage, a soothing gelatinous fiber. It is the inner bark portion of the tree which is harvested for Essiac tea.
Native Americans had been using bark of this tree for many years before sharing their remedy with early colonists. Native Americans had many uses for the bark such as a soothing laxative, toothache remedy, and poultice for wounds. The early colonists depended on this elm tree for many home remedies. Physicians in the 1800s prescribed the bark of this elm tree for acute stomach ulcers and colitis.
The dried inner bark of slippery elm is a rich source of calcium, complex mixture of polysaccharides (carbohydrates), high concentration of anti-oxidants, and vitamin E.
Slippery elm bark is a soothing nutritive demulcent. The definition of a demulcent is a medicine or ointment that soothes irritated or inflamed mucous membranes especially those of the digestive system. This herb is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, ulcers of the stomach and duodenum, enteritis, colitis, and digestive upsets along with diarrhea and many other digestive problems. In the case of diarrhea, the mucilage will soothe and astringe the mucous membrane lining at the same time.
The mucilage from this elm tree is used for soothing the mucous membranes in sore throats, tonsillitis, coughs, and dryness of the lungs, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and the urinary tract. This herb also draws out toxins from the body and assists the body in expelling mucus.
One note: Avoid products which are harvested from the wild. This will help to minimize the depletion of this Native American tree.
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