Mucilago Ulmi (U. S. P.)—Mucilage of Elm.
Related entry: Ulmus (U. S. P.)—Elm
Preparation.—"Elm, bruised, six grammes (6 Gm.) [93 grs.]; water, one hundred cubic centimeters (100 Cc.) [3 fl℥, 183♏]. Digest the elm with the water, on a water-bath, in a covered vessel, during 1 hour, then strain. This preparation should be freshly made, when wanted"—(U. S. P.). Though this fulfils the idea of the framers of the Pharmacopoeia, inasmuch as it produces what is understood by the term "mucilage," it does not produce the kind of a mucilage most useful and most grateful to the patient. By a mucilage, the U. S. P. refers to a kind of opaque semifluid, gelatinous product, having more or less of a viscid or adhesive quality. It is often a solution in water of a gum, or some material closely related to it. The substance wanted in this mucilage is the mucilaginous constituent of the elm-bark, and that is best extracted by means of very cold water. Therefore, the best method to pursue in making mucilage of slippery-elm for the patient, is as follows: Take fresh slippery-elm, or, if it can not be obtained direct from the trees, use the dried strips as found in the drug houses. Shred these, longitudinally, so that the individual pieces will be about the width of an ordinary lead pencil. Now, after bundling together the smaller strips, tie them at one end so that the other ends may be left free after the manner of a whisk-broom. In tying the pieces together leave a long piece of cord by which to suspend the bundle of shreds. Prepare a pitcher of ice-cold water, and place a stick across the top of the vessel and from the stick suspend the shredded bark in the water. If particles of ice be floating in the water, so much the better. In a short time the water will be found to have assumed a thick, ropy, mucilaginous consistence. This preparation should be prepared often, and kept in an ice-cold condition. Furthermore, it should be placed in a situation remote from the sickroom, outdoors if necessary, on account of the great facility with which it absorbs gases and noxious emanations of the sick-chamber.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Prepared by the second method, a good mucilage of slippery-elm is obtained, and will be found a grateful drink for patients undergoing febrile and inflammatory diseases, as well as those who cough much and complain of dryness of the mouth and fauces. It is regarded as particularly useful in catarrhal and inflammatory diseases of the stomach and genito-urinary tract. Locally, it is serviceable as a cooling and soothing application to cutaneous diseases, especially the various forms of dermatitis, erysipelas, furuncles, and carbuncle. Besides being a good demulcent, its nutritious value is considerable. It may be freely administered.