Mucilaginous herbs derive their properties from the polysaccharides they contain. These polysaccharides have a ‘slippery’, mild taste and swell in water, producing a gel-like mass that can be used to soothe and protect irritated tissues in the body, such as dry irritated skin and sore or inflamed mucous membranes.
All plants produce mucilage in some form to store water as hydrates and as a food reserve, for seed dispersal & germination, and as a membrane thickener and stabilizer.
Most mucilage is not broken down by the human digestive system, but absorb toxins from the bowel and give bulk to stool. The major effects of mucilage-rich herbs in the body include:
Applications of Mucilage
Therapeutically, mucilage can reduce bowel irritation, toxin absorption, cough, bronchial and urinary spasm. Mucilage can also increase expectoration, and is used as a bulking laxative agent which can “bulk itself up” with the addition of water to sufficiently initiate peristalsis and evacuate the bowels.
Note: Mucilaginous herbs are best prepared by soaking in water.