Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

Marshmallow Overview:

Most people immediatly thing of the common candy we roast over the campfire when they hear the word marshmallow. Although these candies no longer use the plant, the original recipe relied on the thick, sweet-tasting, mucilaginous texture of the marshmallow root.

The mucilage in marshmallow are both the reason it can be made into a delicious, fluffy treat, as well as the active constituents behind its medicinal uses.

Marshmallow mucilage, taken either from the roots or the leaves are useful for soothing irritated or damaged mucus membranes in the digestive tract and lungs. As such, marshmallow is indicated for inflammatory bowel disease, stomach and duodenal ulcers, and gut dysbiosis. It is also used for chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other inflammatory lung disorders affecting the mucosa.

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Main Herbal Actions:

  • Demulcent
  • Emollient
  • Diuretic
  • Anti-inflamatory
  • Expectorant
  • Antilithic
  • Vulnerary

Main Uses:

Marshmallows is most commonly used to treat irritations of the mucus membranes and epithelial tissue throughout the body, including the respiratory tract, digestive tract, and the skin.

The roots and leaves are used topically to treat bruising, wounds, allergic rashes, inflammation, and muscle damage or soreness.


Part Used

Roots and leaves

Family Name

Malvaceae

Distribution

Europe
Middle East

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Constituents of Interest

  • Mucilage
  • Pectin
  • Scopoletin
  • Polyphenolic acids

Common Names

  • Marshmallow
  • Mallards
  • Mauls
  • Schloss Tea
  • Mortification root

Botanical Info:

Marshmallow is a part of the malvaceae family of plants. This family contains about 4225 different species, spread through 244 different genera. Other members in this family include okra, cacao, cotton, durian, and hibiscus.

 

Level Of Research:

 

Clinical Applications Of Marshmallow:

The rich mucilage content of marshmallow makes it useful for soothing, and protecting the mucus membranes of the body. The effects of marshmallows soothing and antinflammatory effects can be seen in the respiratory tract and digestive tract when consumed orally, and on the skin when used topically. Both the leaves and the roots can be used.

The roots and leaves both provide antimicrobial action, and urinary demulcent activity, making it useful for treating urinary tract infections as well.

 

Cautions:

None reported.

 

Recommended Products Containing Marshmallow:

none listed yet
 
 

Recent Blog Posts:

References:

See full marshmallow monograph.