How to Heal Leaky Gut with Tea and Herbs

I was diagnosed with leaky gut in January 2016. I learned how to heal leaky gut with the help of a natural doctor and some intuition.

I had a bizarre rash on my face for four months that wouldn’t go away regardless of what I did.

I  tried everything—essential oils, cutting out a bunch of different foods (I’m already gluten and dairy-free), trying to neutralize the pH of my body, and overdosing on vitamins, including B vitamins.

Nothing worked when it came to how to heal leaky gut.

Eventually, I went to the doctor and got tested for food intolerances, which was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time but just didn’t do it.

Turned out I was intolerant to a bunch of different things, all having slight reactions to them. The doctor diagnosed me with leaky gut and put me on a powder supplement composed of herbs to help me heal.

In addition to the rash that spread along my chin on both sides of my face, I also had hives around my eyes after having an allergic reaction when eating nutritional yeast.

I later determined that I had accidentally been consuming dairy through my probiotics. This likely caused the leaky gut. I then developed a yeast allergy, which was causing the hives around my eyes. All of this was the result of my leaky gut.

After I was diagnosed with leaky gut and tried to determine what had caused it and how I could heal it, today after just a few short weeks I can eat yeast again and found some amazing herbs that helped me heal.

Here’s how to heal leaky gut!

Healing Leaky Gut First Begins with Eliminating the Things That Caused It

You’ll be able to calm your gut with tea and herbs, but how to heal your leaky gut begins with removing anything and everything that’s irritating it, otherwise you won’t be able to convince your body that it doesn’t need to react to stuff.

When leaky gut happens, your body gets confused and starts attacking things that it previously labeled as ok, like gluten or dairy proteins, yeast, etc.

It could be reacting to anything, including pesticides or GMOs, and it could cause just about any type of health symptom. My bloodwork showed that I was reacting to sesame seeds, eggs, garlic, peanuts, corn, oats, etc. My symptoms just included the rash and the hives.

I would highly recommend that you get tested in order to determine what’s irritating your gut when it comes to how to heal leaky gut.

However, if you can’t afford this (many natural doctors don’t accept insurance), begin by cutting out the big gut irritants.

These are mainly gluten and dairy. However, you may also choose to cut out legumes, all grains, and maybe even molds (natural molds are present in foods such as cheese, alcohol, and dried fruits). Listen to your body!

Once you figure out what’s causing your leaky gut, you can begin supplementing your diet with the following herbs to help when considering how to heal leaky gut.

After a few weeks off of the offending foods (I know it’s hard. I had to print a list of everything that contained yeast and hang it on the fridge!), but it’ll be worth it to eat these foods again in a few weeks and drink some delicious tea in the meantime.

How to Heal Leaky Gut with These Herbs

Go to your local herb shop and grab these essentials:

Stinging Nettle
Slippery Elm Bark
Licorice Root
Marshmallow Root

You’ll ideally want the marshmallow and licorice in a cut-and-sifted form rather than the powder; it’s so much easier to make tea that way.

The stinging nettle is a great anti-histamine and all of the other herbs (slippery elm, licorice, marshmallow) mixed together make a great tea when it comes to how to heal leaky gut! I drank 2-3 cups of plain stinging nettle tea every day with a bit of local raw honey to improve the taste (after a while I didn’t mind the taste, though).

If you choose to do a powder supplement made of these herbs for your leaky gut, choose one with quality ingredients. My doctor gave me Designs for Health GI Revive, which was so easy and tasty to put into smoothies when it came to how to heal leaky gut.

The herbs may be cheaper and even more effective, depending on how much of them you buy and how long you plan to use them for.

You could also get the herbs in supplement form, but I find that those are harder to regulate the ingredients and you’re not really sure how much of it your body is absorbing.

Making a Healing Tea

How to heal leaky gut with tea is easy.

Just get a quality metal tea strainer or cloth tea bag (they’ll have these at your local herb shop) and add a pinch of each of these herbs to your tea for a mixed tea with licorice, marshmallow root, and slippery elm bark.

Use a small pinch of the licorice root—that stuff is powerful and will make your tea really sweet! How to heal leaky gut begins here.

For plain stinging nettle, brew a strong tea by filling up your tea strainer and allow it to steep until dark. The stinging nettle is really important if you’re having histamine reactions because it’s a natural anti-histamine.

Stinging nettle looks like this in its fresh form. If you have the plant handy (and you know with absolute certainty it’s stinging nettle), you can make a tea this way too.

For me, my body was producing histamine whenever I ate yeast, so I broke out in hives. The stinging nettle helped calm my body’s reactions and helped my gut to heal.

The dairy was causing a different reaction (the actual eczema-looking rash) and once I stopped taking those horrible probiotics, was able to get my rash to go away relatively quickly. This also helped calm my leaky gut in addition to the herbs.

I would not recommend mixing the stinging nettle with the other herbs. I have not tried this but I would imagine that it would not taste very good! The slippery elm, marshmallow, and licorice all have sweet tastes that pair well together. The stinging nettle is more bitter and plant-tasting.

Consider Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil helped my body to stop reacting to yeast by producing an anti-histamine effect for my dilemma of how to heal leaky gut.

Yes, just like stinging nettle, it’s a natural anti-histamine. This is for food allergies, though, not for food intolerances (my body was allergic to yeast but intolerant to dairy). There is a difference—the allergy symptoms are more severe faster.

Intolerance symptoms can be just as—if not even more—severe, but they usually develop over a longer period of time. Read more about the difference between allergies and intolerances if you’re interested!

Evening primrose oil contains excellent fatty acids that can help with many things, including dysmenorrhea (another word for wicked terrible menstrual cramps).

I found that it was an essential skin healer and anti-histamine for my body while healing leaky gut. Consider a vegan, organic option such as Deva Vegan Evening Primrose Oil.

Other Essential Practices for How to Heal Leaky Gut

Leaky gut sucks, I know. But do you know how it happens?

A bad diet, antibiotics, stress. Nearly everybody has come into contact with these things. So while you’re considering how to heal leaky gut, it’s a good idea to do the following things.

Sleep a lot

Just make sure you get at least eight hours. I prefer nine or ten myself but again, listen to your body. Sleep is so important and helps you manage stress and weight and can help your body to heal itself.

Avoid stress like the plague

Dude, just relax. It’s not easy, I know. But you can do it. Stay present (read some freaking Eckhart Tolle! Love that dude) and take one thing at a time. Stress is your body’s worst enemy, so relax and take care of yourself.


Wait, didn’t I just say to relax? Of course, I did. But, you still need to take care of your body when you’re practicing how to heal leaky gut. Exercising will help promote healing in your body also. Do something you enjoy—dancing, jogging, kayaking, who cares!

Stay away from conventional medications

Prescription medications such as antibiotics can damage your delicate gut flora and even trigger leaky gut. Stick to natural stuff whenever possible. They are your gut’s enemy!

Eat well

When considering how to heal leaky gut, it’s hard to know what to eat. Just do your best. Plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and healthy fats and fiber can help you look and feel great and encourage your body to heal.

Take vitamin C

I make homemade vitamin C out of dried lemon and orange peels and take a teaspoon every day. This will encourage your body to heal when it comes to how to heal leaky gut.

Stay organic

Buy organic produce and buy organic herbs. Leaky gut syndrome can cause your body to react to pesticides as well, and you don’t need your body reacting to more stuff than it already is when you’re considering how to heal leaky gut.

Avoid sugar

Yes, sugar is so bad for your gut bacteria and can aggravate leaky gut. Try to avoid it while you’re healing, it does so much more damage than good! Actually, can’t think of anything good sugar does…

Consider Probiotics

Wait, didn’t I just say that probiotics caused my problem in the first place? Yes, those probiotics contained milk proteins, and I’m intolerant to dairy. However, my doctor also put me on a different, vegan probiotic (I was able to call the company and confirm that they were vegan—this is the probiotic I take here) to help heal my leaky gut. If you’re vegan or intolerant to dairy, never take a probiotic without confirming that it’s not made from milk proteins! Unfortunately, you just can’t trust the labels.

A Word of Caution

I am not an herbalist or a nutritionist. I would not recommend just going out and gathering plants when you’re thinking about how to heal leaky gut.

Plants are easily misidentified. I would recommend getting fresh or dried herbs from your local herb shop or online. Mountain Rose Herbs is a fantastic resource.

I would also recommend not self-diagnosing your leaky gut and getting tested. Yes, this step may be pricey, but if you don’t heal your leaky gut the first time, you’ll waste lots of time and money trying to figure out what’s going on.

When you get tested and can clearly see what you’re reacting to, you can eliminate these foods and you’ll know how to heal leaky gut. You can also work with a certified herbalist to help you.

Having leaky gut and trying to figure out how to heal leaky gut isn’t fun.  However, working with a natural doctor or herbalist makes it so much easier than working alone (I was sick for almost five years before finally seeing an herbalist and curing my autoimmune disease with a simple diet change—read the story here).

I healed my leaky gut and you can too. Don’t give up!

17 thoughts on “How to Heal Leaky Gut with Tea and Herbs

  • This is very good information. Succinct. Confident. I am drinking nettle tea now, slippery elm first thing in the morning. Thanks.

  • How often did you drink the 3 Herb tea? And for how long?

  • trying to get the probiotics but need dr. auth. How do I get this? Is there any other brand I can get without it?
    I am having ear problems due to cold in January. after some research on internet, I have found out that a majority of people with same problem all have acid reflux. I have it and it has become more frequent over last year. Went to herbalist and he gave me some tinctures and something called candaclear four. the tinctures help a little but the candaclear is really irritating my stomach. It is primarily garlic and cinnamon. Had to stop taking it as acid reflux got a whole lost worse. I do drink herbal tea so I have ordered the herbs from mountain rose as I have dealt with them before and I know that they are good. I believe this problem is related to the acid reflux and from what the herbalist said, he seems to think that my gut is the problem. Been healthy most of my life . I am going to stop all medications and drink this tea for awhile . I have appt. with ENT tonight to get the right ear drained. concerned about it rupturing so I need to get the pressure relieved.
    thank you for your article, I think it really helped me realize that I need to take charge of my Health!

    I am interested in the probiotics but I do not think my regular Dr. will give me an Authorization. I live in ocean county NJ and its hard to find a homeopathic Dr. any suggestions on how to locate one?



    • Hi Diane! You can buy probiotics at any health food store and even online; you do not usually need a prescription to get them. Also, probiotics are abundant in many different foods, including sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, and yogurt. Many natural health experts believe that eating these foods is much better for your body than taking a probiotic capsule! I would suggest getting a vegan brand of probiotic like the one I suggested just in case you react to dairy. I have been taking that probiotic for over two years now with no problems.

      Finding a natural doctor or a good herbalist can be tricky. Any good herbalist should aim to solve your problems with diet first, supplements second. As sketchy as it can be, researching online may help. If you want to email me directly I may also be able to refer you to a couple people. Honestly, I found both of my wonderful herbalists by looking online. In addition, you can also contact your local herb shop (or Google herb shops in your area or even natural health food stores in your area) and ask them if they know of anyone. These places can be great resources and they may be able to point you in the direction of someone who can help. It can be a process of trial and error, but it’s so worth it when you find the right person!

  • Is Leaky Gut a medical term? Like if I went to a GP, would they know what I am referring to?
    Do I go to a GP to test for a leaky gut? What are symptoms of a leaky gut? Thanks

    • I’m honestly not sure, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a GP. I imagine any good GP would at least know what you were talking about. I wouldn’t go to a GP to test for leaky gut, however. I worked with an integrative doctor to help diagnose mine; he was able to test me for food allergies and intolerances to show that I was reacting to many different foods which showed that my gut was not happy. Symptoms of leaky gut range from gastrointestinal symptoms to brain fog to poor nutrient absorption to fatigue. The symptoms vary hugely!

  • I to have a rash on my face, specifically on my forehead, one sideburn area, lip area and eyes. I saw a few doctors, got allergy tests and nothing showed up. All the doctors said it is eczema. I’m wondering if I have the same thing as you?

    • Hi Charlene, thanks for your comment! It certainly could be. Unfortunately you’d have to get a food intolerance test to be sure–food allergies and intolerances are not the same thing, and the body often produces different reactions to them. You could have had an allergy test where nothing shows up but have an intolerance test where a lot shows up (my food intolerance test showed SO many things I was reacting to!). Eczema, at least in my experience, is almost always the result of an intolerance rather than an allergy. Best of luck to you!!

  • Hi.
    What kind of testing you did to know what was irritating your gut. Is it a sensitivity test?.
    Could you recommend me a test?. I heard about everywell but not sure about that one.
    Thank you

    • Hi Albert, so for the testing, my doctor did an intolerance test (via blood). I don’t have experience with the home testing kits and so, unfortunately, cannot recommend one to you. I would recommend doing more research to see what people are saying about the home testing kits but would always recommend getting tested by a professional who understands natural health and what you want to be tested for and why and can even make recommendations. Granted, these professionals can be hard to find. I would also recommend working with an herbalist. I’ve had great experiences with these professionals and they can usually help you find out what’s going on without so much testing (which can be expensive albeit very informative). Best of luck!

      • Thank you so much.
        What kind of doctor did you visit?. Was it a functional or an herbalist?.
        Would you recommend any place to check for trusted herbalists to work with?.
        Thank you again

        • I saw an integrative health doctor who I see when I need bloodwork, etc. done. I actually don’t have a go-to resource for finding reputed herbalists… my last one I found online by chance. However, if you have a local herb shop near you or even a health food store you may be able to ask them for recommendations. My very first herbalist I found through my local herb shop. I hope this helps!

  • How long did you steep your tea and how much of each herb should I add?

    • Hi Leslie! How long you steep the tea for will depend on your preference for taste. I myself like my teas pretty strong and so would steep them for maybe ten minutes or so, depending on how hot your water is (I always use fresh boiling water from a kettle to make the tea as strong as possible; I find the hotter the water is, the stronger the tea will be).

      You can also tell by the color how strong it is: I would steep my stinging nettle tea until it was a dark green. For the slippery elm, licorice, and marshmallow, I would steep until it was a deep golden color.

      As for your other question in regards to the amount of herbs, I find that trial and error is the best way to determine what mix works well for your taste. I can give you some really rough guidelines as to what I used in my tea:

      – Stinging nettle (which you’ll make as a separate tea): one heaping tablespoon for a two-cup mug steeped for approximately ten minutes
      -Slippery elm (in a mix with licorice and marshmallow): one large pinch (maybe a tablespoon?) for a two-cup mug (this stuff is wispy and easy to get a large pinch of it with just two fingers in one go).
      -Licorice root (in a mix with slippery elm and marshmallow): one to two small pinches (maybe a teaspoon or less?) for a two-cup mug (you do not want a lot of this, it’ll make the tea taste weird, almost too sweet).
      -Marshmallow root (in a mix with slippery elm and licorice): about one to two heaping teaspoons for a two-cup mug.

      I hope this helps somewhat! Recently I have also really enjoyed adding a small pinch of ginger and turmeric root to the slippery elm/licorice/marshmallow blend.

  • I read where yarrow and plantain are gut healing as well. Do you agree?

    • I just did a quick search and it does look like these plants could be beneficial. Yarrow seems to have beneficial effects for indigestion and inflammation in the gut, whereas plantain can aid digestion. I can’t recommend them personally as I haven’t tried them, and I wouldn’t suggest them as the primary approach to healing leaky gut, but it seems they could be helpful!

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