You might be thinking to yourself: what the heck is mucilage, and what would I use it for? It sounds like…you know…what comes out of your nose when you have a bad cold. Well, it’s not far from that. But that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. Mucilage is a thick, gluey substance that is produced in some form or quantity by most plants. It has a variety of uses: medicinally, it has been used to soothe mucous membranes by forming a protective coating; it is also used similarly to dietary fiber; it is used to make adhesives, such as are found on postage stamps and envelopes — among others; finally, it is an ingredient in some food products, such as marshmallows (at least, traditionally), and Swedish filmjolk. Some popular sources include:

  • Aloe vera (Aloe vera)
  • Flax (Linum usitatissimum)
  • Marsh mallow (Althea officinalis)
  • Musk mallow (Abelmoschus moschatus)
  • Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)
  • Prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica)
  • Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra)
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