4 Herbs to Help Heal Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut)

Leaky gut is a fairly common condition that can cause so many symptoms. Diseases and ailments that are seemingly not gut-related usually originate from your gut. Intestinal permeability happens when your gut lining—the organism responsible for deciding which substances get absorbed into the body and which go on their merry way—is damaged and lets substances the body perceives as threats through.

This is where the body often begins to attack itself, which can manifest as an autoimmune disease. It always feels like a guessing game as to which substances are causing these reactions in the body. By eliminating some of the infamous culprits such as gluten and dairy, you can start to heal your gut.

There are also some wonderful herbs that can help your gut to heal. The following herbs have been used in ancient medicine to treat many different kinds of ailments. Some you may recognize as known gut healers; others you may have not even heard of.

Regardless, check out these four herbs that can help heal your leaky gut while you remove the offending foods! 

  1. Slippery Elm

Slippery elm is a herb that hails from the bark of a tree. It actually is slippery—and therefore is also a known natural contraceptive if used as a suppository before sex. Slippery elm is available both as bark and as a powder. As a bark, tea is easily made from this herb. As a powder, you’ll most likely find this herb in a supplement.

Slippery elm heals leaky gut by promoting healthy mucous in the lining of the gut and therefore aiding in the protection of this part of the digestive system. It does this by essentially coating your gut. It can also help to calm the gut and work with the other herbs to heal!

  1. Marshmallow Root

Surely you’ve heard of marshmallow! Marshmallow root is a famous gut healer because, like slippery elm, it has gut protecting properties. Also available as a powder and a root, this herb pairs well with the others when it comes to leaky gut supplements and teas.

Marshmallow root promotes the health of mucous membranes and can soothe your gut. It works as an anti-inflammatory and is also used for colds and cough as well as indigestion and leaky gut!

  1. Licorice Root

Licorice root is pretty magical. Besides its common uses such as a digestive aid and sore throat soother, licorice has many more benefits you’ve never even heard of. This herb has been widely used throughout the ancient world. Although licorice should not be used long-term, it can be a powerful gut healer, especially when combined with these other herbs.

Licorice acts as an anti-inflammatory for your gut and has even been shown to be more effective than Ibuprofen at healing stomach ulcers. Plus, licorice is sweet and delicious—a tea many people enjoy!

If you do plan on using licorice long term, there is a special version of licorice you can take called deglycyrrhized licorice, which has the glycyrrhizin compound removed. This is a powerful compound that can cause health problems if used too often over time. DGL licorice is widely used in leaky gut supplements.

  1. Cat’s Claw

No, I’m not talking about the claws from your kitty here. Cat’s claw is a herb that has been shown to encourage the immune system, relax your intestines, and even lower blood pressure, according to research. It can help to detoxify the gut and therefore enable your body to have improved nutrient absorption. Cat’s claw is available as a tincture as well as a root and a powder.

Healing leaky gut can feel like a challenge, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can effectively heal one of the most important parts of your body and be on your way to health again. Using these four herbs in a tea or in a supplement can help your gut to heal. Add the supplement to smoothies, drink the tea a couple times a day. Many of them are delicious gut healers after all!

Jenn Ryan is a freelance writer and editor who’s passionate about gluten-free, holistic health, animals, and fitness.

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