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This article shares how to use SLIPPERY ELM and MARSHMALLOW ROOT for various GI-related issues.
What do you say to herbs that are slippery and milky and soothing to the gut?
They’re easy to add to smoothies, hot cereals, breads, porridges, puddings, teas and coffees. And they taste good. They taste healthy; but they taste good-healthy.
Multitudinous testimonies and studies boast these two herbs’ gastrointestinal powers: relief of symptoms for those suffering from various conditions ranging from leaky gut to interstitial cystitis to acid reflux … Let’s look more closely.
Slippery elm: history and uses
Used for hundreds of years and by different native people groups, slippery elm is now being used to treat IBS, calming the gut.
Commonly written about in alternative health journals, slippery elm is used topically to treat wounds; and internally it’s used not only to treat stomach issues like diarrhea, but also to treat coughs and soothe sore throats.
Slippery elm contains mucilage, which is a gel-like polysaccharide. This substance coats the intestines and gives the herb its name.
For those who may lack adequate mucosal lining, due to leaky gut, slippery elm provides this protective barrier.
However, the herb is not only protective. It’s also high in antioxidants that fight inflammation.
Porridge with slippery elm
I first initiated myself with slippery elm by making a simple porridge.
This grain-free porridge (the recipe is in my cookbook) is nutrient-dense, yet gentler than a bowl of soaked oatmeal, safe and suggested for invalids and even infants.
Cinnamon, raw (or dairy-free) milk or cream, raw egg yolk and unrefined sweetener can all be added. Up to 5 tablespoons slippery elm powder can be used per serving.
Slippery elm can be used three times a day for gastritis, as well as for lung conditions.
Lung tonic and other uses
To use as a lung tonic, steep the bark for 25 minutes. Optionally, add lemon, cayenne and raw honey. Sip throughout the day, about a pint total, for relief.
And, added bonus, slippery elm is a prebiotic food; (it’s consumed in the colon by probiotics, creating a healthier gut ecosystem).
You can buy slippery elm powder HERE.
Marshmallow root: history and uses
First used by the Greeks and Egyptians as both food and medicine almost 3000 years ago, and then in Africa, China and Europe, continents where it grows natively, today marshmallow root is often associated with sweet confections.
But by herbalists, marshmallow root is most commonly used for dry coughs and sore throats, reduction of inflammation, to break up mucous and to kill bacteria.
Marshallow root’s polysaccharides give it similar mucilaginous properties to slippery elm. (This quality is also what historically made it suitable for candy-making: the fluff potential.)
Additionally, marshmallow root is antibacterial.
More recently, marshmallow root is being used to treat ulcerative colitis, ulcers, Crohn’s, heartburn, kidney stones and indigestion.
How marshmallow root works
Internally, marshmallow root’s gooey texture coats the stomach’s lining.
It contains flavenoids that fight inflammation, while also shielding a compromised gut from the caustic aspects of digestion. The mucilage itself does not digest until it reaches the colon, making it a prebiotic food (food for probiotics).
Additionally, marshmallow actually engulfs undigested food particles that may be harmful to a leaky gut condition, as well as bacteria and dead cell tissues. It’s cleaning up, while it’s protecting and healing.
Marshmallow root for IBS
Marshmallow root may be helpful for sufferers of IBS. Studies show it helps to rebuild epithelial cell tissues by creating a top surface on the cells, allowing them to regenerate. It is anti-inflammatory, reducing ulcers in patients and improving digestive circulation.
Of course, other dietary choices are significant for IBS to resolve: oftentimes eliminating rice (which can cause alternating diarrhea and constipation) and including gentle foods that are high in fiber, such as homemade oatmeal or buckwheat.
How to take marshmallow root
Because of the way marshmallow root absorbs toxins, it should not be taken with medications, as it may render them ineffective.
Which one to buy
- Find organic bulk sifted marshmallow root here.
- If you’d like something delicious and helpful, I recommend this wonderful tea.
- You can also buy the fully powdered herb HERE in capsule form. It’s very inexpensive, which is nice.
Dose of marshmallow root
- For the bulk sifted root, 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons may be used in teas or other settings, such as porridges and smoothies.
- Approximately 4-6 grams a day, in capsule form, can be used for persons suffering from Crohn’s, colitis or diverticulitis.
For those with acid reflux (including pregnant women), approximately 2-4 grams marshmallow root can be used in place of heartburn medication, with many patients noticing zero symptoms within several days.
How else to support digestion
As a side note, those with acid reflux may consider using digestive bitters or Betaine HCl instead of medication.
This HCl is non-GM.
Cautions with marshmallow root include these:
It may lower blood sugar levels; and it has a diuretic effect for some.
The diuretic effect is actually quite beneficial for many conditions, as marshmallow helps to draw bacteria out of the urinary tract.
Have you used one or both of these herbs? What conditions were alleviated as a result?