29 July, 2016 Charlena Edge 0 Comment

Demulcents are soothing herbs that relieve irritation and inflammation. They are moistening and mucilaginous, meaning they create a thick, viscous liquid when dissolved. Demulcents are an excellent choice for an irritated GI tract. Below is my homework assignment testing the consistency of different demulcent herbs dissolved in different liquids. You will see in the results that water extracts the demulcent quality from the herbs much better than alcohol. When using herbs, the extraction method is just as important as the herb themselves.

For soothing the GI tract for example, a marshmallow tea would be more effective than an marshmallow tincture.

I was excited to try this experiment and decided to use both alcohol and water as my liquids. I mapped out a chart on paper to test cold water, warm water, cold alcohol, and warm alcohol.

Once I got in the kitchen, I had second thoughts about heating the alcohol. I googled heating alcohol in the microwave and after viewing the first few results, I quickly decided against it, so I used room temperature alcohol instead.

I used ¼ teaspoon of herb powder per cup along with ¼ cup of liquid.

The herb powders are Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.), Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis), and Slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra).

I used tap water, and Everclear which is 94.5% alcohol by volume.

For the water, I warmed 1 ½ cups in the microwave for one minute, then used ¼ cup per cup.

For the cold water, I put 1 ½ cups of tap water in the fridge for 30 minutes, then used ¼ cup per cup.

For the cold alcohol, I put 1 ½ cups alcohol in the fridge for 30 minutes, then used ¼ cup per cup.

demulcent 2.jpg

Demulcent 1.jpg

demulcent 3.jpg

Overall the marshmallow had the most demulcent quality of all the herbs.

Warm Water 10 Minutes 20 minutes
Cinnamon Still very liquidy, didn’t dissolve very well. I can see the powder in the water even when stirred again. Still thin liquid, the cinnamon powder separated from the water again. After stirring, the liquid was not thick at all.
Marshmallow Thickening very well. Like a thicker soup. Seemed to be the same thickness, but overall the marshmallow more demulcent.
Slippery Elm Thick like broth, close to the thickness of the marshmallow, but I think the marshmallow is thicker. Still thick like a broth.
Room Temp Alcohol 10 Minutes 20 minutes
Cinnamon The powder settled to the bottom. When stirred, not thick at all. As thin as when I began. Alcohol did not extract the demulcent quality of the cinnamon.
Marshmallow The powder settled to the bottom. When stirred, not thick at all. As thin as when I began. Alcohol did not extract the demulcent quality of the marshmallow.
Slippery Elm The powder settled to the bottom. When stirred, not thick at all. As thin as when I began. Alcohol did not extract the demulcent quality of the slippery elm.
Cold Water 10 Minutes 20 minutes
Cinnamon Not much change from warm water. No change.
Marshmallow The marshmallow began to thicken as I stirred it. The marshmallow seemed to thicken a bit more. Overall, the most demulcent of the herb powders.
Slippery Elm A bit thicker, but not by much. Not much thicker and had to stir powder from the bottom.
Cool Alcohol 10 Minutes 20 minutes
Cinnamon The powder settled to the bottom, no change after stirring. Same result as 10 minute mark.
Marshmallow The powder settled to the bottom, no change after stirring Same result as 10 minute mark.
Slippery Elm The powder settled to the bottom, no change after stirring Same result as 10 minute mark.

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About Me

Charlena Edge

Charlena Edge

Hi, welcome to my humble abode! I’m Charlena, wife, mother of two, pet mommy, full-time worker, sporadic crafter, former floral designer, trial and error gardener, future chicken owner, and wanna be farmer. I have a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Herbalism. In between my disjointed, seemingly unrelated posts, I hope to share some of what I’ve learned. Thanks for stopping by!

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