Can Marshmallow Root Heal Leaky Gut? Here's What the Science Says

Written by Clare Gibson  

Published on November 13, 2023

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, digestive issues can often take center stage, affecting our overall well-being. The discomfort and disruption caused by persistent gut problems can be not only physically draining but emotionally taxing as well. If you're nodding along, eagerly seeking a natural solution, you're in the right place. This blog aims to unravel the potential of marshmallow root, a humble herb with a history steeped in traditional healing, as a remedy for leaky gut and overall gut health.

Understanding Leaky Gut and its Consequences

Before we explore the potential of marshmallow root, let's shed light on the enigma that is leaky gut. Also known as intestinal hyperpermeability, leaky gut is a condition where the lining of the gut becomes damaged, allowing harmful toxins and bacteria to leak into the bloodstream. This breach can lead to a myriad of health problems, including autoimmune diseases, skin conditions, and chronic inflammation throughout the body.

 

In a healthy gut, tightly packed cells form a barrier that prevents harmful substances from leaking into the bloodstream. However, in individuals with leaky gut, the compromised gut lining allows toxins and bacteria to breach this barrier, triggering an immune response and causing widespread inflammation.

If left untreated, Leaky Gut can lead to a range of problems, including:

 

Autoimmune Diseases

The condition may trigger autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.

 

Skin Conditions

Leaky gut has been linked to skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

 

Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation resulting from leaky gut can contribute to diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.

 

Nutrient Malabsorption

The compromised gut lining in leaky gut can hinder proper nutrient absorption, potentially leading to malnutrition and other health problems.

 

Food Sensitivities and Digestive Problems

Leaky gut may make individuals more sensitive to certain foods, causing an overreactive immune response. Additionally, it can manifest as digestive problems, including diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain.

 

Now, onto the good stuff. 

What is Marshmallow Root and How is it Different from Regular Marshmallows?

Derived from the Althaea officinalis plant, marshmallow root is a far cry from the sugary confections that share its name. Unlike the delightful treat enjoyed around campfires, marshmallow root is the raw, unprocessed form with a rich history in herbal medicine. Its soothing properties have been recognized for centuries, making it a go-to remedy for various ailments, including the potential to heal leaky gut.

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How Marshmallow Root Helps with Leaky Gut and Improves Gut Health

Marshmallow root stands as a promising ally in improving gut health and addressing leaky gut through two mechanisms

1. Forming a Protective Barrier

Marshmallow root, rich in mucilage, forms a gelatinous protective barrier along the gastrointestinal tract. This mucilaginous shield acts as a soothing layer, preventing the permeation of harmful toxins and bacteria into the bloodstream. Crucially, it aids in repairing and fortifying the compromised gut lining in individuals with leaky gut, contributing to the restoration of gut barrier integrity.

2. Reducing Inflammation

The anti-inflammatory properties of marshmallow root, attributed to compounds like flavonoids and polyphenols, play a pivotal role in mitigating gut inflammation. These compounds not only inhibit pro-inflammatory molecules but also function as potent scavengers for free radicals, reducing oxidative stress. This dual action not only alleviates inflammation within the gut but also fosters an environment conducive to healing.

The verdict

Marshmallow root emerges as a safe and effective herb with the potential to improve gut health, particularly in addressing leaky gut. It stands out as a valuable option, especially for individuals dealing with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. 

 

If you're on the lookout for a natural approach to enhance your gut health, marshmallow root deserves consideration!

References 

 

Zaghlool SS, Abo-Seif AA, Rabeh MA, Abdelmohsen UR, Messiha BAS.Gastro-Protective and Anti-Oxidant Potential of Althaea officinalis and Solanum nigrum on Pyloric Ligation/Indomethacin-Induced Ulceration in Rats. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019;8(11):512.

 

Paz, M. M., & Dinis-Oliveira, R. (2005). Pilot study of the efficacy and safety of marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 50(9), 1629-1636.

 

Sydney GP. (n.d.). Progression of Leaky Gut. Retrieved November 13, 2023, from https://www.sydneygp.com.au/can-leaky-gut-syndrome-cause-autoimmune-problems/

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