slip into summer with this gut lovin' super herb

Posted on: July 20th 2017

What do the following symptoms have in common?

  • bloating
  • allergies
  • eczema
  • depression

Can you guess what’s at the root of all those expressions?

It’s your gut.

That’s right, the health of that long twisting tube deep-seated in your abdomen is a key factor in a host of health situations. And those situations might not be a “condition” in and of themselves, but instead a manifestation that something’s gone awry in your primary organ of digestion.

This summer (you may have noticed), I’m driving this core initiative home with our gut lovin’ superfoods!

You can consider these symptoms in that same camp of digestion gone awry:

gas, constipation, diarrhea, sensitivities to certain foods, headaches, asthma, decreased immunity, brain fog, anxiety, cramping, and the list goes on…

By now you know: when the small intestine is suffering, you are too.

Though you might not think of your splotchy skin as having anything to do with your innards, their impairment is the reason that all those fancy or expensive creams only work for a short time, if that.

You can pull the weeds out of your garden, but if you don’t tend to the root, they keep coming back. That’s why I believe in digging down to the root of symptoms. And the very first root to grab my attention is the form, function and health of your gut.

The small intestine, when in good repair, is your ultimate gatekeeper. It decides what will travel into the circulatory system and what will not.

But let’s back up a bit.

Your food is broken down into smaller nutrients higher up in the digestive system—in the mouth, in the esophagus, in the stomach.

Auxiliary organs of digestion, the pancreas and gallbladder, produce enzymes to help the food decompose a little further. Those enzymes are pumped into the “gates” of the small intestine.

Yet what comes out of those gates is dependent on the health of that organ. There are intricate chemical processes that selectively sort and choose what will be introduced into your bloodstream for distribution to your cells.

If nutrients that aren’t properly digested (ie. broken down), leak into the bloodstream than the suffering begins.

That grief can take the form of that gas, bloating and indigestion I mentioned, but also create more systemic problems from disrupting your mental health to increasing your internal toxic load.

In our clinical practice we’re always looking to find the root cause of symptoms. That usually means starting with the gut. Since most digestion and absorption happens right in that organ, it needs to be in good repair. And repair we can!

This is why we’ve been focusing on our gut lovin’ foods all summer.

We’re getting right to the root of the matter, giving you the foods to clean and restore your ultimate gatekeeper.

This week’s summer lovin’ ingredient is all bark and no bite:

and it helps you easily slip into some summer gut lovin’

it’s slippery elm!

Simple Slippery Elm Porridge

Slippery elm is an herb derived from the bark of the slippery-elm tree. It’s medicinal use dates back to the Native Americans who used it for everything from remedying coughs to treating digestive disturbances.

Now it’s often recommended for helping to heal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and colitis.

Slippery elm is indeed slippery!

It’s a mucilaginous herb, meaning it gets a bit slippery when you add liquid. That’s what makes it magical for your inner skin like your throat and your small intestine (yup, there’s skin in there, too!).

Taking slippery elm after meals can help relieve heartburn and it’s a common ingredient in teas and lozenges to tame a sore throat.

It can even be used on your outer skin to help heal wounds, burns, hemorrhoids and diaper rash. To apply it externally, mix slippery elm powder with enough water to make a thick paste and apply it directly to the wound.

To make slippery elm tea, simply add 1 TBSP slippery elm powder to 1 cup boiling water and stir. Add sweetener of choice and coconut milk if desired.

If you’d prefer to make it more of a meal, my favorite way to slip in some slippery elm is to make a porridge with other healing ingredients like cinnamon and coconut milk.

Simple Slippery Elm Porridge

Get earthy and eat to heal.

Start to repair your root with a bark.

Slippery elm can easily be made into a tea, but you can also whip it into a little porridge that makes for a tasty addition to breakfast or dessert. This is a favorite for many of our clients working with us in Counseling Services.


  • 2 Tbspn slippery elm powder
  • 1/2 tspn cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3 Tbspn water
  • 3/4 cup nut or coconut milk
  • several drops stevia or dash of raw honey, optional

Mix slippery elm, cinnamon, nutmeg and water in a small pot to form a smooth paste.

Add nut or coconut milk and stir over a low flame, gently heating the mixture and stirring constantly until there are no lumps.

Turn off the heat and add your sweetener of choice.

your gut lovin’ homework?

Get herby with slippery elm and give your inner skin the love it deserves this summer.

Andrea Nakayama, FNLP, MSN, CNC, CNE, CHHC, Founder of Replenish PDX and Holistic Nutrition Lab



P.S. If you’ve got gut lovin’ on your mind (like I do), stay tuned for a chance to shower your small intestine with love. I’ll tell you more next week!

And always, remember that we’re each unique and we all respond differently to new ingredients. While introducing healing herbs to your diet, be sure to start low and go slow. If you have a delicate GI and have any concerns, please consult your dedicated healthcare provider.