This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Ulmus Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. Ulmus sampestris & theophrasti C. B. Ulmus campestris Linn. Elm: a tall common tree; covered with a rough, chapt, brownish, brittle bark, under which lies a white, smooth, tough, coriaceous one; producing in the spring, before the leaves appear, imperfect flowers, followed by flat roundish capsules, containing each a single seed.
The inner tough bark of the elm tree, of no manifest smell, discovers, on being chewed, a copious slimy mucilage, of no particular taste: the outer brittle bark is much less slimy, but equally void of smell and taste. It may therefore be presumed, that if elm bark has been found of use in nephritic cases, in which it is recommended by authors; or externally against burns, for which it is applied by the common people; it was of use no otherwise than as a simple emollient. Neither the purgative virtue ascribed to it by some, nor the astringent by others, appear to have any foundation.
* A decoction of the inner bark of elm has been employed in cutaneous diseases in some of our hospitals; and an account of its efficacy has been published by Dr. Lysons in vol. ii. of Medical Tranfactions, and since, in a separate work. In making this decoction, four ounces, of the bark fresh from the tree are boiled in two quarts of water to one. It is of a beautiful light purple colour, when the elm is in flower; but browner at other times. Its taste is mildly astringent; and an extract from it is very austere. It has no purgative effects, as some have alledged, but rather the contrary. Where it succeeds, it generally at first increases the ef-florescence. Patients are usually directed to drink half a pint twice a day, and to persist in the use of it some months, it is now received into the London pharmacopoeia.