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Slippery Elm

Slippery Elm Herb
Elm (Ulmus rubra, syn. U. fulva) is a species of elm native to eastern North America from southeast North Dakota east to southern Quebec and south to northernmost Florida and eastern Texas. Although similar to American Elm in general appearance, it is more closely related to the European Wych Elm, sharing very similar flower structure with that species. It is less susceptible to Dutch elm disease than many elms, and has a different branching pattern. The heartwood is reddish-brown, giving the tree another common name, Red Elm. Other names include Gray Elm, Soft Elm, Moose Elm and Indian Elm.

The Slippery Elm is a deciduous tree reaching 10-20 m tall and 50 cm trunk diameter. The leaves are 10-18 cm long, with a rough texture, coarsely double-serrate margin and an oblique base. The flowers are produced before the leaves in early spring, in clusters of 10-20; the fruit is an oval winged samara 2 cm long containing a single seed in the center. Slippery Elm may be distinguished from American Elm by the hairiness of the buds and twigs (American Elm has smooth buds and twigs), and by the flowers being very short-stalked.

Slippery Elm prefers to moist, rich uplands, but will grow well in dry intermediate soils as well.

Slippery Elm is a valuable tree which has many different uses.

The inner bark can be ground into a nutrient-rich gruel. One can survive on this gruel alone for a relatively short period.
Slippery Elm Herb
It also contains a mucilage that is an excellent remedy for sore throats. It may be dried and ground to a powder, then made into a tea. Either the tea or the gruel may be used to soothe the digestive tract as well, such as with irritable bowel syndrome or gastritis. There are no known contraindications for Slippery Elm, since it consists mainly of mucilage and various nutrients; it is not technically a drug.

The outer bark is a strong and durable fiber, which can be spun into thread. It can be used for bow strings, ropes, clothing, snowshoe bindings, woven mats, and even some musical instruments.

The wood is used for the hubs of wagon wheels, as it is very shock resistant, due to the wood's inter-locking grain. It is also used for making bows, as it is both strong and flexible.

Other useful herb information: Garcinia Cambogia | Hawthorn Berries | Barberry | Mentha | Beeswax | Kelp | Aloe

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