Marshmallow has been medicinally used since Ancient Egyptian times, taking it’s botanical name from the Greek word ‘altho’, meaning ‘to heal’. or ‘heal all’.
Marshmallow root is rich in sugars, making it an excellent mucilage and softening on the tissues. Leaves are used as an expectorant and as a soothing remedy for the urinary system.
A singer’s friend — suck on marshmallow root to care for vocals.
Latin Binomial: Althaea officinalis
Common Name(s): Marshmallow
Part(s) Used: Root, Leaf
Qualities: Cool, Moist & Sweet (Ody) Somewhat ‘Salty’ (Wood)
Tissue State: Atrophy & irritation dependent on lack of moisture
Organ Affinities: Skin & mucosa, upper GIT, Kidneys
Mucilage; consisting of acidic polysaccharides (Bone).
Of all mucilages – marshmallow is considered the ;most softening; (Wood).
“…whoever swallows daily half a cheetahs of the juice of any one of them (the mallows) will be immune to all diseases” – Pilny, AD 77
- Urinary demulcent
- Emollient (Bone)
- Diuretic (Wood)
- Soothe inflammation of the skin & mucosa
- Nutritive – to increase milk production
Stores lubrication while also allowing water to flow into hardened, dried out tissue.
Indicated in Dryness that is Combined with Heat
- Irritation of the oral, pharyngeal, or gastric mucosa
- Dry cough – hoarseness
- Inflammation of tonsils
- Gastric or peptic ulcer
- Cystitis- urinary tract infections in general
- Canker sores
- Dental abscesses
- Crohns/colitis (Wood)
- Lubricate passages to assist in an easier birth (Wood)
- Constipation – when due to dryness
- Topical treatment for varicose ulcers, wounds, burns
- Irritation of the oral, pharyngeal, or gastric mucosa & dry cough
- Bronchitis, respiratory tract catarrh
- Cystitis, urethritis, urinary gravel or calculus
- Topical treatment for abscesses, boils and ulcers (Bone)
- Dry, scruffy, skin, dandruff, dry scabs on the scalp, unhealthy scalp with hair loss & insect bites.
- Lips, red, dry, sometimes with a slight white powder around them
- Irritated, inflamed, hot, dry mucosa and skin
- Swollen, hard, indurated glands
- Dry cough in the throat or upper bronchus – worse at night SYRUP
- Soothing and anti-inflammatory to the GIT, acidic stomach with burning (Capsules)
- Low enzyme production (leaves)
- Haemorrhoids (externally)
The absorption of other medications taken with marshmallow root may be retarded. Simultanious ingestion should be avoided (Bone).
ROOT: 3-6 ml of 1:5 tincureper day. 3-6 ml of 1:5 glycetract per day.
LEAF: 3-6 ml of 1:2 liquid extract per day
Combinations: Slippery Elm
- FLOWERS: Gather and use to make expectorant syrups for coughs. Harvest in Summer
- MARSHMALLOW ROOT SYRUP: Remedy for irritable coughs. Soothes passageways, reduces inflammation & dryness. Beneficial in continuous runny colds – breaks up cysts in sinuses that often cause conditions.
- INFUSION: Use for bronchial and urinary disorders
- ROOT DECOCTION: Use for inflammations, such as oesophagi’s & cystitis. Use 25 gm root : 1 litre water and boil down to approx. 750ml.
- TINCTURE: Use for inflammations of mucous membranes of GI & Urinary
- POULTICE: Use root or a paste of powdered root mixed with water and apply topically for skin inflammations & ulcers
- OINTMENT: Use on wounds, skin ulceration and to help draw out splinters. RECIPE: Melt 50 g lanolin, 50 g beeswax & 300g soft paraffin together. Heat 100g powdered marshmallow root in the combined fats for an hour over a waterbath. When cool – add 100 g Slippery Elm Bark.
Bone, K. (2003). A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs: Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient. St Louis, Missouri: Elsevier.