Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

marshmallow plantMarshmallow plant (Althaea officinalis) is an ornamental and medicinal plant known since the times of ancient Egyptian Empire. Sometimes called as althaea or white mallow, common marshmallow plant received its name from a Greek word “altho” meaning ‘to cure’, and in ancient Greece this natural remedy was used for a wide variety of health conditions. A creeping plant with slightly violet tender hibiscus-like flowers, marshmallow grows in a wide nature all around Northern Hemisphere, from Eastern North America through Europe to China and Japan. It is cultivated in many countries of modern Asia. Marshmallow leaves, roots, and flowers are traditionally used for various herbal preparations and have valuable medicinal properties.

In today’s market, marshmallow plant remedies are available in the forms of extracts, tinctures, ointments, syrups, as well as dried materials, but the recommended forms of using also include decoctions, herbal teas, and poultices. Such substances as tannins, mucilage, asparagines, pectin, and others are the main constituents of marshmallow roots, and marshmallow leaves, in addition to the mentioned ingredients, also contain some essential oils. Marshmallow plant is considered one of the safest herbal remedies, and there were no side effects known caused by using this medicinal plant. Marshmallow plant benefits include expectorant, diuretic, emollient, demulcent, and other properties, and below there is a brief list of common uses of this natural remedy.

  • Marshmallow LeavesFor many centuries, marshmallow plant extracts and herbal preparations are used to treat all sorts of conditions related to irritation of mucous membranes, starting from sore throat and ending up with mouth ulcers.
  • Marshmallow leafs infusion can be recommended to those who suffer from a common cold, the flu, coughs, bronchitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, and other similar health problems.
  • To increase the effects of using marshmallow remedies against respiratory system problems, it is possible to combine it with licorice and white horehound.
  • According to the findings by a group of Lebanese scientists published in Pharmaceutical biology in 2011, using marshmallow leaves infusion and other preparations can be a great natural solution to support the function of digestive system, prevent gastric ulcers, etc.
  • Diuretic properties of marshmallow plant can be used to prevent various problems related to the function of bladder and urinary system, including kidney stones.
  • Marshmallow has quite strong anti-inflammatory powers, which can be recommended to treat the symptoms and signs of bladder infections, cystitis, arthritis, and so on.
  • It is considered a great natural remedy fro dental infections including gingivitis and dental abscesses.
  • Marshmallow leaf infusions are very good for skin health. This natural remedy can be used to speed up wound, cut, bruise and burn recovery, and it can be used even to treat eczema and dermatitis.
  • Some alternative medicine experts say that using marshmallow leaf extracts and infusion can be good to reduce the symptoms of varicose veins.
  • To treat external infections and pains, marshmallow ointments and remedies can be used in combination with such herbal remedies as comfrey and slippery elm.
  • Marshmallow root extracts are often used as a culinary additive and taste enhancer.
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