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 Post subject: Lapacho & slipperly elm
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:29 am 
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Pau d'arco or lapacho if a very interesting herb and does have potential for the equine. Though I have not as of yet, luckily, had a need to use it on any of my horses, I would not hesitate in the future to administer it. On a personal level, my brother used it during his bout with leukemia and though it is hard to scientifically say that it was a factor--he is free of that cancer to this date. Lapacho is the inner bark of the South American tree, Tabebula avellandedae and imetiginosa. This bark seems to have rather unique actions on several fronts and may be used topically and/or internally. Lapacho seems to have an anti-cancer, an anti-oxidant, analgesic, anti-microbial/antiparasitic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory effects. I find one of the most intriguing aspects of pau d'arco is its anti-viral properties. In this world of viruses, this bark may be of importance in the fight against many of the deadly viruses (west Niles, etc.). Where I find fault with lapacho is that it is an herb that must come from abroad and, thus, it may be open to all kinds of problems. It has to escape the irradiation or decontamination by the USDA at the borders, it has to be harvested properly, and it needs to be pure. I have a suspicion that more than just the inner bark is ground-up to sell to us North Americans. Anything other than the inner bark is inert and probably of little use in fighting diseases. I would not be the bit surprised if entire trees are ground up. One way to protect one's self is not to buy it in powder form but in inner bark chunks or flakes. Also, if any species other than the Tabebula avellandedae or imetiginosa are used, it is said to be non-medicinal. These two are the only ones recognized as therapeutic. Whey buying, I would be very careful what supplier you select. Often you get what you pay for and this may be no exception.

Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) is a fantastic bark as well! It has a long history in both human and veterinary use. Used externally, it produces a wonderful emollient poultice useful in inflammation, abscesses, etc. Internally, it has nutritive and demulcent actions. One should prepare it by taking shredded elm inner bark and tying it in a bundle form and place in a vessel of cold water. In time, a thick ropy mucilaginous preparation will come to be. Elm mucilage is a superb demulcent for irritated, inflamed mucous membranes.

From Dr. Christopher's book, "School of Natural Healing":

‘Therapeutic action: Emollient, demulcent, pectoral, nutritive, expectorant, diuretic, slightly astringent, and tonic. The slippery elm is one of the finest and most valuable medicines in the herbal world. It possesses abundant mucilage which will soothe, disperse inflammation, draw out impurities, heal rapidly, and greatly strengthen. It is especially soothing and healing to irritated and inflamed surfaces, the various mucous membranes internally, or wounds, burns, chapped skin, etc. It is most beneficial for inflammatory conditions of the stomach, lungs, intestines and urinary organs."

I particularly like it for poultices. It can be applied to swellings of the horse’s legs and used in abscess treatments. You can combine slippery elm with the common clay poultices to good effect. To make a poultice, you really need the inner bark in powder form and add hot, almost boiling water to produce a poultice of proper consistency. Yes, it should be of use in cases of colic or certainly in a post-colic situation as well. A gruel of slippery elm can be given. The powder made into a mucilge beveratge or gruel is an excellent concoction. It is a valuable remedy in all cases of weakness, pumonary complaints, stomach inflammation, lung hemmorhage, etc. Its action is so gentle that it can be retained by delicate stomachs when other stustances are rejected.

One of the beauties of slippery elm is that it can be harvested fresh out of our back pastures. Trees are common in the eastern half of the USA. I have a large elm population on my farm and find this to be the best way to harvest as needed. I have been told that other forms of elm may have similar, if not equal in medicinal properties. The Elm disease has decimated many trees in my part of the country, so one should be careful not to over-harvest the bark and never kill the tree that one harvests. Collection: For best results, it is recommended that the ten year old bark be used. The best quality of slippery elm bark can be folded lengthwise without breaking, while inferior grades are brittle. The bark should be collected in the spring and should be removed and dried. Strip the inner bark up and down; never go horizontally around the tree. The powder should be grayish or fawn colored. Dark or reddish powder should be rejected. Both the English elm (Umus camperstris) and black elm (Ulmus effusa) or very similar and can be substituted.

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