SLIPPERY ELM and MARSHMALLOW ROOT: 2 Gut-Healing Ingredients for Your Smoothies, Porridge, Tea, or Hot Chocolate

Megan Essential Oils & Supplements, Healing Diets, Health & Nutrition 28 Comments

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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 boast these two herbs’ gastrointestinal powers: total relief of symptoms for those suffering from various conditions ranging from interstitial cystitis to acid reflux…

I am not a healthcare practitioner, nor do I pretend to be one. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new healthcare regimen. This post contains affiliate links.

Slippery Elm

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 healing 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.

The way I first initiated myself with slippery elm was to make 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.


I love blending slippery elm or marshmallow root into our family’s hot breakfast drinks, 1 tablespoon per serving.

I now conveniently add slippery elm, 1 tablespoon, to my bulletproof treats: 1, 2, 3, and 4. (They’re steamy, hot beverages fortified with gelatin, frothy and delicious.)

It can be used three times a day for gastritis, as well as for lung conditions.

(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.)

There are many other uses, too, for slippery elm: pleurisy, tooth decay, typhoid fever, interstitial cystitis, hormone balancing, heart issues and constipation. Slippery elm can even be used safely for cats and dogs.

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 slippery-elm-marshmallow-root

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. Many who’ve suffered from interstitial cystitis find complete relief from symptoms by using 2-4 capsules of marshmallow daily.

Tangentially, marshmallow root is being explored for its uses with asthma, eczema and diabetes.

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.

Because of the way marshmallow root absorbs toxins, it should not be taken with medications, as it may render them ineffective.

Slippery elm or marshmallow root can be added to gentle, grain-free porridges. Stir in 1 tablespoon per serving, or more, to taste.

Slippery elm or marshmallow root can be added to gentle, grain-free porridges. Stir in 1 tablespoon per serving, or more, to taste.

2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons may be used in teas or other settings, such as porridges and smoothies. If you’re planning to steep the root, I recommend this bulk tea.

For eating, even a coffee grinder (this is the one I use) has a hard time getting the root smooth; but you can use the coffee grinder method and then sift out the powder, which I have done several times. You can also buy the fully powdered herb HERE in capsule form. It’s very inexpensive, and the capsules can be opened to be mixed for porridge or into a smoothie, or however you plan to use the powder.

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 most patients noticing zero symptoms within several days. (As a side note, those with acid reflux should be using digestive bitters or Betaine HCl instead of medication, in most cases. [These are my favorite bitters. 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?


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