Slippery elm

Historical note The dried inner bark of the slippery elm tree was a popular remedy used by many Native American tribes, and subsequently taken up by European settlers. It was mixed with water and applied topically to treat wounds, bruises and skin irritations, and used internally for sore throat, coughs and gastrointestinal conditions. When mixed with milk, it was used as a nutritious gruel for children and convalescents. It also gained a reputation as an effective wound healer among soldiers during the American Civil War. From 1 820 until 1 960 it was listed in the US Pharmacopeia as a demulcent, emollient and antitussive (Ulbricht & Basch 2005). The name 'slippery elm' refers to the slippery consistency of the inner bark when it comes into contact with water.

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