Elm Tree Uses
Tree Healing Therapy
Botanical name Ulmus glabra / Family Ulmaceae
The deciduous elm, wych elm or Scots elm, which is native to Europe, Asia Minor and the Caucasus, grows along roadsides, in hedges, at the margins of woods and in the Scottish Highlands. It has a broad crown supported by a short bole, with robust, supple young shoots and rough-surfaced leaves. Produced in clusters of 10-20, its flowers appear before the leaves in early spring.
History, mystery and spiritual healing In Greek mythology, the elm's link to Orpheus and his lute are well known. In Norse myth, the first man and woman were made from the ash and the elm tree, while Teutonic myth states that the elm was given a soul by the god Odin, senses by Hoenir, and blood and warmth by Lodur, becoming the first woman. In Finno-Ugric mythology, elms were believed to be the mothers of the fire goddess, Ut. The Celts believed that the falling of elm leaves out of season predicted murrain (cattle disease), which they cured by means of the elm 'need fire', through whose fumigator smoke the cattle were driven.
In Britain, the wych elm is associated with the Mother aspect of the Goddess, with elves who were said to guard Celtic burial mounds, their dead and their passage to the Otherworld.
Dutch Elm Disease has proved a scourge to elm trees worldwide, decimating populations in northern Europe, the US and Canada.
The dried, young inner bark of English elm (u. procera) is an astringent, anti-inflammatory and mild diuretic. Homeopathically, fresh bark essence was given for eczema. An infusion of shredded bark is used for diarrhoea, arthritis and rheumatic pain (slightly stronger to bathe inflamed wounds, haemorrhoids and mouth inflammations). Traditionally, Wych elm leaves were used as a poultice for swellings, and its inner bark for skin and venereal infections.
The North American Slippery elm (u. fulva), well-known medically and to herbalists, was used by the Cherokee for coughs, skin conditions and as an eye- wash. The multi-healing secretion from the tree's bark was used in poultices for infected wounds, in salves for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns and even nappy rash. Slippery elm is recognized by the FDA as a safe and effective medicinal option for sore throats and respiratory symptoms, such as coughs. Science has found that Canadian slippery elm possesses potent antioxidant and DNA-protective activity, properties common to natural anti-cancer agents.
At the time of writing there are no known contraindications for this plant. However, slippery elm should not be used in cases of impacted bowel or bowel blockage of any origin. Prescription medications should be taken at an alternate time to consuming slippery elm bark.