The elm tree (genus Ulmus ) is prominent in Teutonic mythology, where it was said to have been given a soul by the god Odin, senses by Hoenir, and blood and warmth by Lodur, becoming Embla, the first woman. In Finno-Ugric mythology the elms were believed to be the mothers of the fire goddess Ut. In England the tree was associated with elves and sometimes known as "elven." At Lichfield, England, choristers of the cathedral used to deck the cathedral, close, and houses with elm boughs on Ascension Day.
It was believed that the falling of the leaves of an elm tree out of season predicted a murrain (disease) among cattle. The elm was also used to cure cattle disease by means of the "need fire," when two pieces of wood were rubbed together until they ignited and a bonfire was built, through the smoke of which the cattle were driven. The leaves were used medicinally as a poultice for swellings, and the inner bark of the tree was used for skin and venereal infections. The slippery elm (U. fulva orrubra ), mixed with milk, is still used by herbalists as a demul-cent drink.