Diet is the most important change one can make for healing Leaky Gut. Next would be various supplements you can take to help the process along. I don’t know about you, but this time of year I love a good cup of tea (or three!) during the day and evening as well. Since I’m working on healing leaky gut, I figured it would be a good idea to see what herbs would be beneficial for healing leaky gut and tasty as teas.
Chamomile Leaf & Flower
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) leaf and flower isn’t just good tasting, it’s good for you too! Chamomile has been shown to:
- alleviate colic as well as the symptoms of colitis and diverticulosis
- be beneficial in the treatment of petpic ulcers
- stimulate the digestive system
- alleviate flatulence
- reduce inflammation
- help expel intestinal parasites (especially when taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach)
- kill some forms of detrimental yeasts and bacteria
And that’s not including other beneficial health properties, including the mild sedative effect that makes it a great evening tea as well!
Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale), yes that lovely spring flowering plant that people call a weed and spray chemicals in their grass to be rid of it is actually quite good for you! I found it a bit sweeter than one would expect for a root. Dandelion is a cleansing herb, as are most plants that are first to come up after winter. For this use, it has been shown to:
- stimulate the flow of bile and the release of stored bile from the gallbladder
- purify the blood
- alleviate constipation
- alleviate colitis
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a seed we keep in our cupboards and chew on when we have gas. It seems to do quite well at eliminating it! Fennel doesn’t have a long list:
- it may alleviate indigestion and diarrhea
- alleviate some colon disorders
- reduce cravings for simple sugars (especially in tea form)
- improve function of the liver
- and of course, alleviate symptoms of colic and help expell gas (flatulence) from the body.
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) interestingly enough for those following a paleo protocol, is in the Legume (Leguminosae) family. It’s flavor is similar to that of black licorice, which I personally find delightful! Licorice has been shown to:
- alleviate colic, colitis symptoms and diverticulosis
- cleanse the colon
- facilitate the treatment of Intestinal Permeability, yep – that’s the fancier term for leaky gut! An article in BioMed Newsletter in 1995 stated it is useful for repairing the damaged cells in intestinal permeability. They did use DGL (see below) so either form of licorice is beneficial.
- 2,300mg of DGL per day may prevent and treat peptic ulcers
- DGL may heal duodenal ulcers and gastric ulcers
- inhibits candida albicans, and supresses helicobacter pylori
- supresses inflammation
- enhances the function of macrophages (if you read my article “Immune Response, TH-1 or TH-2” you might remember, licorice stimulates TH-1. If this is your dominant side of your immune system you will want to avoid this herb.)
- 2,500mg per day may alleviate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (this is specifically due to the Glycyrrhizin content)
- it may enhance the function of the liver
- and it may soothe inflamed mucous membranes
There is a lot more licorice does, including many beneficial effects for the adrenal glands, alleviating depression, improving memory, counteracting stress, the list goes on and on.
NOTE: There is an active constituent in this herb known as Glycyrrhizin which is beneficial provided you are not taking excessive amounts of licorice root daily. If you really really like the tea and plan on drinking several cups daily, or you are taking capsules in high dosages, you might consider deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) root where they have removed 90+% of this constituent. Too much Glycyrrhizin may raise blood pressure, cause headaches, cause lethargy, cause water retention and even cause excessive amounts of potassium to be excreted while excessive amounts of sodium are retained.
Typical dose of just dried powdered root is between 3,00 and 5,000 mg per day.
Typical dose of DGL is 2,280 to 4,560mg per day. It is suggested to take DGL at least 20 minutes before meals for optimal results.
CAUTION: if you have kidney ailments, or high blood pressure, licorice may not be the herb for you. Ask your Herbalist or Naturopathic Doctor before using it.
So there you have 4 herbal teas to enjoy that are beneficial to the process of healing leaky gut! Enjoy!