Slippery Elm Powder
Slippery elm has a long history of use in North America. The mucilaginous characteristics of the bark make it easy to remove from trees in late spring so several Northeastern native tribes used planks of it to shingle their lodges. Before applying it to the lodges, the inner bark (the immature cells surrounding the cambium layer) was harvested for medicinal properties.
The medicinal properties of the tree were explained to the European settlers by Native Americans early on. Schoepf’s 1787 Materia Medica Americana calls it “salve bark” and recounts its use as a poultice for musket ball wounds during the Revolutionary War. It was – and still is – widely recommended for a wide assortment of gastrointestinal ailments and constipation.
Slippery elm gets its common name from the fact that the inner bark of the tree produces a mucilaginous powder that increases in volume 60 to 140 times when soaked in water. The powder contains primarily starch and water-soluble polysaccharides in an alternating linear chain of complex sugars with abundant side branching.
Slippery Elm inner bark is a must for treating gastric ulcers, as it is mucilaginous and thus will form a protective and healing poultice-like layer over damaged gastric lining tissues.
It is also anti-inflammatory and mildly astringent, so is useful as an external poultice on wounds, and as a drawing agent. Combine with honey, marshmallow root powder, and a little water and apply a layer on the inside of a leg wrap and bandage over the affected area.
Slippery elm bark is extremely costly, as it can only be harvested from a tree that is at least seven years old, only the soft inner bark can be used, and harvesting the bark can cause the tree to die. Understandably, this invaluable tree is in very short supply and is now threatened in its natural habitat; so only make use of this precious herb when it is truly justifiable, otherwise, Plantain or Marshmallow root are good alternatives for treating gastric ulcers.