So long ago last spring while wandering down a foothills trail I collected a few fresh fallen branches of the local weed Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila) and stripped the bark and dried it. Then I moved, several times, and that bag of bark got put in the bottom of the herb box and forgotten for a while.
While digging through that box this morning, I found that bag and brought it to school with me. I decided it was time for the experiement I had been planning all along.
I was wondering if Siberian Elm was useful as a demulcent like Slippery Elm, while slippery elm is threatened, siberian elm grows like a weed. Wouldn't it be nice to have an analog to slippery elm without worrying about overharvesting?
Marshmallow and linden are good demulcents, but some herbalists perfer slippery elm in some cases.
So I powdered this bag of bark in the big grinder, and then added a tsp of ground bark powder to a cup, and added hot water.
Instant snoty tea! This stuff is as slippery slimy snotty demulcent as slippery elm ever was. It's taste is mild, much like that of slippery elm, with a bit more of a green flavor. Not bitter or unpleasant at all, but the addition of a bit of cinnamon and honey will make it even more patalable. THat is of course, if you can stand to drink the goopy tea.
Diluting it down with extra water, or used in cooking gruels or porridge, or in lozenges with honey it should be just as effective as slippery elm.
Next spring, I'm hoping to experiment with the leaves of siberian elm as well, which are notably slippery when crushed in the hand, and abundantly available as well.
Yay for local substitutes for popular yet threatened herbs!