(Red) slippery elm was the food and medicine of the pioneers and the American Indians.
Indigenous to the U.S., it grows north of the Carohnas but is most abundant west of the Allegheny Mountains.
The INNER BARK is the part used in medicine. It has a peculiar sweetish, but not unpleasant, odor, and a highly mucilaginous taste when chewed. By grinding, it is reduced to a light, grayish fawn-colored powder. It abounds in mucilaginous matter, which it readily imparts to water.
Red elm is one of the finest and most valuable remedies in the herbal world and should be in every home; there is nothing in this world to equal it. It is one of the best for internal or external use wherever there is an irritation or inflamed condition.
It is especially recommended in diseases and inflammatory conditions of the urinary organs, the stomach, lungs, intestines, and in dysentery, diarrhea, constipation, or cholera infantum used both orally and in rectal injection. It lubricates and soothes.
It is very useful in leprous and herpetic eruptions, tetters, and in all skin diseases, inflammations, and irritations, purulent ophthalmia, chilblains, ulcers, wounds, bums, boils, carbuncles, abscesses, etc. used externally as a poultice. It soothes the part, disperses the inflammation, draws out the impurities, and heals quickly. Also during the scaling process in scarletina and measles and at times in typhoid fever. Mix the coarse powder with hot or boiling water and apply as hot as convenient, change as often as required.
For an obstinate boil, mix 3 parts powdered red elm and 1 part powdered lobelia. A wash with red elm is good for sores on any part of the body. For bums, scaled and abraded skin, add to linseed oil. Keep well covered. There is nothing better.
Inflammation in the bowels of infants or adults has been cured with using an injection of an infusion of 1 oz. powdered bark in 1 pt. boiling water, stirring frequently. When at proper temperature, inject into the bowels.
Red elm is fully as nutritious as oatmeal. We are told that it has proved sufficient for the support of life in the absence of other food. The instance of a soldier is reported who lived for 10 days in the woods on this bark and sassafras. The Indians are said to resort to it for nutriment in emergencies.
A pleasant drink may be made by stirring the powder in hot water, with which it forms a mucilage, more or less thick, according to the proportion added.
Red elm GRUEL is perhaps the most useful of foods.
In debilitated conditions of the stomach, when all food is rejected, it is frequently found that the gruel will be gratefully received. (Note—The author can heartily recommend this gruel. When my mother, who had cancer, could keep nothing on her stomach and was unable to take solid food, she was able to retain elm gruel. She took it through a baby bottle. Another relative who had painter’s colic said nothing helped him like this gruel.)
The gruel is made as follows: mix 3/2 t. powdered bark and 1 t. sugar, or more if desired, to a paste with cold water. Heat 1 C. milk to the boiling point and stir in the elm paste, continue on a low heat for a few seconds. Take off the stove, beat with an egg beater or blender to take out the lumps. Add a dash of powdered cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired. Drink warm, as much as desired. It is very soothing and healing to inflamed surfaces and is very strengthening.
In weakness, inflammation of the stomach, bleeding of the lungs, consumption, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, gastritis, nephritis, gastric ulcer, pyloric inflammation or ulceration, calculus, scalding urine, etc., take red elm gruel.
For weaning infants, the gruel may he thinned with added milk or water. It will soothe the baby’s stomach, and baby will be fed at the same time.
For a good healing food drink, beat 1 egg with 1 t. powdered red elm. Pour on 1 G. boiling milk. Stir and sweeten to taste.
Red elm gruel is considered a specific in ulcerated stomach.
It is soothing to the mucous membrane wherever needed, especially in croup and diphtheria after the false membrane has been cleaned out and the throat is quite raw.
Red Elm is also used in the formation of lozenges and suppositories. The lozenges are excellent for coughs due to colds 47 and to relieve an irritated pharynx. The suppositories are important in treating inflammation of the ovaries, vagina, uterine weakness, pruritis, leucorrhea or growths.
An excellent remedy for an infected sore is as follows: Add 1 t. fine brown sugar and 3/2 t. powdered elm bark to the white of an egg. Mix but do not beat. Cover the sore with this coating. Change every 15 min.