What is a Decoction?
A decoction is simply a very strong tea made from the chopped, sturdier parts of herbs (roots, barks, etc). In this decoction, we use chopped Slippery Elm bark and chopped Marshmallow root. Both are demulcents. A demulcent relieves irritation and inflammation and forms a film over your mucous membranes to soothe them. This decoction is great for anyone with leaky gut or someone dealing with diarrhea or constipation.
For mild cases, you can simply take a tablespoon upon waking, about 15 minutes before each meal, and before bed. For extreme cases of leaky gut, you can take a tablespoon every two hours or so. This can be done for a month, or even two for a permeable gut membrane. For my decoction, I add a little bit of Licorice root.
Let me break down the individual ingredients for you.
- stress relieving
- loaded with antioxidants
- soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines
- improves digestion (which can help with weight loss) and helps with digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, leaky gut, acid reflux, IBS, Colitis, Crohns
- it is great for sore throats and coughs as well as certain skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
- good for coughs and colds.
- fights bacterial infections such as UTIs and bronchitis.
- repairs and coats the lining of the intestines.
- helps with heartburn, stomach ulcers, constipation and diarrhea.
- lowers acute and chronic inflammation
- supports heart health
- reduces water retention (edema, bloating)
- good to use in homemade beauty products for skin and hair.
- Make marshmallows the way they were originally made! Go here for a marshmallow recipe from Wellness Mama.
Licorice Root: (Use only if you are not pregnant and have no problems with your blood pressure, liver, or kidneys.)
- an adaptogenic herb that is great at lowering cortisol (good for some stages of Adrenal Fatigue-go here if you think you might have it and want to know which stage.)
- anti-viral (especially helpful for hepatitis)
- enhances immune system by boosting interferon
- pain reliever
- it’s an expectorant, so it is excellent for coughs
- it is also a demulcent so it soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines
- good for premenstrual cramping (it’s anti-spasmodic which helps with cramps)
- good for premenstrual irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness
- supports heart health by limiting the damage done by “bad” cholesterol
- provides a natural sweetness to teas and decoctions
Decoction of Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm Bark:
- 2 T chopped Slippery Elm bark
- 2T chopped Marshmallow root
- Optional : 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons chopped Licorice root
- 2 Quarts Filtered Water
- Add all ingredients into a large pot with a lid.
- Let sit overnight.
- In the morning, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer until mixture is reduced by half.
- Let the mixture cool before bottling.
- strain through a stainless steel sieve and funnel into a glass bottle.
- Keep the mixture in the fridge. It will keep for a month or so. (Throw it out if it starts to smell “off”)
- For diarrhea and constipation, take 1 tablespoon before meals and before bed. For leaky gut, take 1 tablespoon every 2 hours while awake for one month (can do two months if needed).
Decoction of Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm Bark
- 2 Tablespoons chopped Slippery Elm Bark
- 2 Tablespoons chopped Marshmallow Root
- Optional: 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons chopped licorice see information regarding licorice
- 2 Quarts filtered water
- Place all ingredients in a stock pan and cover with a lid.
- Allow to soak overnight.
- In the morning, bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer until it is reduced by half.
- Allow mixture to cool before handling.
- Once cool, pour the mixture through a stainless steel strainer and then funnel into a glass bottle.
- Keep mixture in the fridge to keep it fresh.
For leaky gut, take 1 tablespoon every two hours for one month.
Please remember that I am NOT a doctor. You should have one with whom you can discuss adding herbs and supplements to your regimen in case they interfere with any medications you are already taking.
Looking for other things to make with marshmallow root? Try my super soothing and hydrating Marshmallow and Rose Face Mask!
How long does it take to boil till its reduced to half? I have been simmering this for 4 hours and it’s barely reduced at all.
It really should only take about 40 minutes to reduce it by half as long as you don’t have a lid on it. I’m not sure why yours took so long!
I’m not sure why it took so long. It really should only take about 40 minutes-an hour tops to reduce it by half. Maybe you accidentally left the lid on? If not, I really don’t have any other ideas. Sorry!
Can you use the powdered versions rather than the full herbs?
To make a decoction, you need to use the chopped root. The powder just doesn’t stand up to the boiling. You can take the powder by capsule though. Stick to the dosage on your bottle. You won’t be able to have it as often as the decoction, therefore your healing might be slower, but your gut will get the benefits of the marshmallow!
Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions!!
Can children take this?
Yes, they can! I give it to my daughter (she is 5) for occasional constipation. Instead of a tablespoon at a time, give them a teaspoon.
Hi, thans for sharing. Where to purchase the slippery elm BARK vs. powder which is very available. Actually where did you purchase all the ingredients. Thanks in advance, Barbara Summer
I purchase the herbs from Amazon. If you click on the underlined words “marshmallow root”, “Slippery elm”, and “licorice”, it will take you straight to Amazon. Hope this helps! Chelsea
I searched Amazon for the root only and it was nowhere to be found! I had to settle for the powder.
That’s a bummer! Things seem to be harder to get these days. Hopefully this all ends soon! Best of luck!
Hi Chelsea, does the liquid end up being mucilaginous? Thank you.
Absolutely!! You will have a thick, viscous liquid when you are done decocting the herbs. This is why it is so great at regulating the mucus in your intestinal lining (and why it helps with both constipation and diarrhea.) This decoction is also great for coughs and colds with mucus, as you may have guessed. 🙂
amazon does not ship these herb roots to canada.
will this work if I buy in package form and mix them all together with grapeseed or coconut oil.
I wud also like to add some N Acetyl Glucosamine.
I haven’t heard about mixing these herbs with coconut oil. The versions I use here are chopped and then boiled down to extract the useful botanical in an easy to digest form. Do you have a co-op or vitamin store near you that would sell these herbs in their chopped form? If not, you can buy them in capsule form, but the relief (depending on what you are using it for) might not be as quick. It can also be tedious to take many capsules multiple times a day. Another thing to consider, most people who have regular digestive issues are not digesting and absorbing nutrients as well as they should be. Therefore, you may swallow capsules, but then end up not digesting and absorbing all the nutrients. I do not know enough about N-Acetylglucosamine to advise you on that, but I would keep it separate from the herbs so that if you have a reaction to one, you are able to identify which one it is. Hope this is helpful!
Hi Chelsea. Do you soak in the fridge or room temperature? Thanks
I soak on top of the stove in the same pot that I am going to use to reduce them down. Just put a lid on so no dust or bugs get it. Then in the morning, you can just take the lid off and turn the stove on. Also, if you don’t have time, you can skip the soaking step. You will still extract so many of the active botanicals with just the reduction.
Hi Chelsea, I made this but it’s not a thick consistency like you described in the comments – it’s just the consistency of normal tea. I followed the steps so I’m not sure what happened? Thanks!
If you reduced the decoction down, it should be thicker than water, but not as thick as syrup. I hope this helps!
How long is the decoction good for?
The decoction should be good for about a week to 10 days in your fridge (assuming you used clean equipment to make it and a clean jar to store it in). However, the idea behind the decoction is that you actually take it quite frequently to heal the intestinal lining, so you should run out of it well before it would go bad. Hope this helps!!
I’m making up a care package for a friend and I’d love to include this. Do think a decoction would keep in the mail?
I think it would be best to just send her the herbs and the instructions. It really should be refrigerated once it is made. What a great addition to a care package!
Hi Chelsea, Thanks for this post. Do you know if it is OK to add the remains of slippery elm bark & marshmallow after straining out the liquid — adding those dregs to a smoothie? Would you get even more benefits by grinding up the actual soaked/boiled roots? Thanks again so much. Cheers.
I don’t think it would be very tasty to add the dregs to a smoothie. Also, the insoluble fiber is what you are after and you have already leached that out during the boiling. I just compost the leftovers. 🙂
Hope this helps!
Hello! I’m making this for my partner who’s under 30 and suffers from diverticulitis. Can we drink it at the same time he’s taking antibiotics?
Yes, it will not interfere with antibiotics.
What is 2 T? Tablespoons?
I’m sorry for the late reply. This comment was marked as spam. Yes, capital T stands for tablespoon and lowercase t stands for teaspoon.
How do you take this decoction for acid reflux/heartburn
This decoction is for sealing up the small intestine rather than curing acid reflux/heartburn. Check out my post, “What you should know about stomach acid” to learn about the myths surrounding this malady.