Multiple Health Benefits of Marshmallow Root

Filed Under: Herbs at 12:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor


Marshmallow root has been used as an herbal medicine for thousands of years. The botanical name of marshmallow root is althea officinalis. This perennial plant has pink flowers, which generally blooms in the fall months and are used to make expectorant syrups.

Also known as common marshmallow, mallow, and white mallow, marshmallow root is native to Europe but has been brought to America recently as a plant for medicinal uses. Marshmallow root has a long history as an herbal remedy for cough, sore throat and other respiratory problems such as bronchitis and whooping cough, due to the large amounts of mucilage found in the flower as well as the root.

Medicinal used has also been recommended for diarrhea, indigestion, along with chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastro esophageal reflux disease. This herb has shown to be helpful in almost all problems related to inflammation of the digestive tract, including peptic ulcers, hiatus hernias, mouth ulcers, enteritis and colitis.

Additionally, weight loss has been promoted when taking marshmallow root supplements because it swells when mixed with fluid, prompting the stomach to have a feeling of more fullness.

Lastly, external uses have shown to be very effective as well as marshmallow root has anti-inflammatory activity on the human tissue. Personal care products containing this herb could be helpful in treating cuts, scrapes, and other wounds, as well as a remedy for eczema, psoriasis and pinkeye.

Supplements are the best way to take marshmallow root, available in tablets, capsules and in liquid extract form.

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Aug 11, 2011 | By Rae Uddin

Marshmallow root is a natural herbal supplement derived from the Althaea officinalis plant. This supplement is available over-the-counter in a variety of forms including tinctures, extracts, cough syrups, creams or ointments and capsules. Talk with your medical provider about the benefits and side effects of marshmallow root before you begin taking this herbal supplement.

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Marshmallow root provides a number of purported benefits, which include reducing inflammation associated with asthma, sore throat, bronchitis or cough, skin irritation, stomach ulcers or inflammatory bowel diseases. Additional clinical research is necessary to further examine the efficacy and safety of using marshmallow root as a treatment for these conditions.

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Side Effects

No adverse side effects are generally associated with marshmallow root supplementation. If you have diabetes, consult your doctor before using this supplement. Marshmallow root may reduce your blood sugar levels, RxList warns, which may lead to symptoms of hypoglycemia in people taking medication to control their blood sugar levels.


The recommended dose of marshmallow root is 6 g daily for adults, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. You can prepare this supplement as a root tea by allowing 2 to 5 tsp. of dried powdered marshmallow root to soak in hot water for approximately 60 minutes before drinking. Consuming 1 to 2 tsp. of root infusion may also help soothe an irritated throat or reduce cough symptoms. Capsules, cough syrup and ointment or cream may also be used as directed to elicit the beneficial anti-inflammatory properties of this supplement. Consult your physician if you have any questions about the proper use of marshmallow root supplements.

Medication Interactions

Talk with your doctor about any other medications or supplements you are currently taking before you begin treatment with marshmallow root. Marshmallow root is a source of soluble fiber and may affect how your digestive tract absorbs ingested medications. Whenever possible, medications should not be taken with or at the same time as marshmallow tea, advises the Flora Health Herb Encyclopedia.


Due to limited safety data, women who are pregnant or nursing should not take marshmallow root unless otherwise directed by a medical professional. Avoid this supplement if you are scheduled to undergo surgery anytime during the next two weeks.

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By Kim Balas

Originally, the marshmallow plant was a native of specific regions of Europe and Asia but now can be found in areas of the United States as well and has been used for healing for over 2500 years. The scientific name for marshmallow is Althaea officinalis. Althos in Greek means to heal, and the plant was called "the official healer." The Romans and the
Egyptians ate the root as a vegetable, the poor in Syria use the marshmallow root for food and in the Bible, it was the food of choice in times of famine. Marshmallow grows in damp, wet areas including meadows and marshes. By just looking at where a plant grows gives us a good idea of the plant’s signature and properties: “wet and damp”. The leaves of the marshmallow plant as well as the root are used as medicine.

Marshmallow leaves are of a slightly different chemical makeup than the root. They contain flavonoids including kaempferol, quercetin, and diosmetin glucosides; additionally, the leaves contain the coumarin scopoletin and phenolic acids including syringic acid, caffeic acid, salicylic acid, and vanillic acid. The root and the leaf of the plant both contain a substance known as a mucilate. This mucusy substance does not dissolve in water. When wet it swells and becomes very slippery. Marshmallow increases the production of the body’s mucosal fluids. This soothing action is very helpful with any condition that is irritated or chapped and works to sooth inflamed tissues. The root and leaves of the plant are used medicinally. Marshmallow has been used for many to relieve coughs and sore throats, as well as for chapped skin and minor wounds. One of the most famous uses of this herb was used in a “drawing paste”. When applied to a splinter, thorn or bee sting, it would draw out the offender and speed healing. If the skin is red, has a splinter/sting or irritated, you can apply crushed marshmallow to it and increase healing

Marshmallow helps to lessen heartburn and intestinal conditions, such as ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation. This slimy herb helps to coat and protect irritated mucous membranes in the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract. British health authorities consider marshmallow root preparations safe and effective for soothing ulcers along the digestive tract.

Marshmallow is also believed to have an ability to fight infection and boost the immune system. Recent research shows that marshmallow increases white blood cells and used for the treatment of colds, hoarseness, diarrhea and dysentary. It has also been used for
reduction of high blood sugar levels in the body. According to studies in mice, marshmallow lowered blood sugar levels. More studies are needed to conclude that it does lower blood sugar levels in humans.
Marshmallow can be used as a suppository for hemorrhoids, made into a tea and gargled for dry mouth and throat irritations, used externally as a poultice to heal minor skin irritations, for dry cough, and taken orally combined with blessed thistle for nursing mothers. Marshmallow is very helpful in times of burning urination, inflamed kidneys and kidney stones. Marshmallow reduces inflammation and pain and when taking 2 capsules every hour with copious amounts of water helps to ease the passing of kidney stones.

Below is a list of conditions that marshmallow is helpful for:
• Asthma
• Abscesses
• Antidote to poisons
• Arthritis
• Bee stings
• Boils
• Burns
• Common cold/sore throat
• Cough
• Crohn's disease
• Cystisis
• Dermatitis
• Diarrhea
• Gastritis
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
• Indigestion
• Laxative
• Peptic ulcer
• Sore Throat
• Sprains
• Tooth Ache
• Urinary tract infections
• Ulcerative colitis
• Vomiting
• Whitening agent (teeth)
• Wound healing

Inflammatory processes naturally treatment

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) - the herb, not the white puffy confection - is a perennial plant with white to pale pink flowers. It is grown in the UK, Southern and Western Europe, West Asia, North America. It has been used as food by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Syrians, and Chinese. Arabs used it as a compress for inflammation of the skin.

The plant contains a lot of mucus, asparagine, pectin, tannin, volatile oil. It has anti-inflammatory, diuretic, emollient effect.

With therapeutic purpose are used the leaves, roots and flowers of the marshmallow. It is used for the natural healing of the following diseases and conditions:


·         digestive system - soothes enteritis and colitis, dysentery, digestive problems, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammation of the stomach;

·         excretory system - cystitis, relieves pain when urinating, gravel, bleeding, infections and relieves inflammation of the kidneys;

·         inflammatory processes - joint inflammation (has anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant effect);

·         respiratory system - assist expectoration of mucus from the lungs, asthma, bronchitis, colds, hoarseness, relieve emphysema, sore throat, with pertussis;

·         others - helps to reduce weight.

Externally marshmallow is used for vaginal douches, burns, bruises, earache, gangrene, muscle aches in dry tear ducts, animal bites and insect stings, skin inflammation.

Marshmallow should be taken several hours before or after taking other herbs or medicines as it may change the absorption of certain substances.


Marshmallow is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Malvaceae family. It is a hairy plant that grows in height up to 1-2 meters. It has a woody, tap-shaped root and a non-branched stem. The leaves are also relatively hairy and pedicellate. It bears large five-petaled flowers that are pale purple or pale pink in color. It also bears a round and flat fruit and is often grown in populated areas such as in gardens, hedges, and roadsides. Although experts’ advice that it be consumed fresh, it is also dried and used in various medicinal preparations because of its mucilaginous properties.

Nutritional Information and Properties  

The marshmallow plant contains active ingredients like ammonia, uronic acid, betaine, tannin, asparagines pectin, saccharides, and resinous properties. These ingredients make it an effective natural remedy for the treatment of problems like tonsillitis, laryngitis, dry skin, leucorrhea and various other health problems. Marshmallow contains mucilaginous properties that give it its emollient effects. Some of the main vitamins and minerals in this plant include vitamin A, vitamin B complex, iodine, iron, calcium, sodium, and pantothenic acid. These vital components give marshmallow its anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, demulcent, and other soothing properties.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

·         Marshmallow has very powerful expectorant properties that make it a good treatment for coughs, chest congestion, bronchitis, pleurisy, whooping cough, and other problems with the upper respiratory tract. The leaves of marshmallow are used to make tea for curing these problems. It helps reduce inflammation in the mucus membranes and thins the mucus for easy expulsion from the body. Marshmallow also relieves irritation and dryness in the throat and chest caused by persistent coughs and colds.

·         Marshmallow contains effective carminative properties, which make it a good remedy for digestive problems. You can combine marshmallow with pepsin to ease and reduce digestive problems like stomach pain, abdominal infections, intestinal inflammation, flatulence, and bloating. Marshmallow not only helps in cleansing the intestinal tract but also soothes peptic ulcers. Furthermore, it enhances digestion and regulates metabolism in the intestines.

·         Marshmallow extracts are used to treat urinary tract infections such as cystitis. Its powerful anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in soothing aggravated tissues in the urinary tract. Furthermore, its antispasmodic properties help in reducing muscular cramps in the urinary tract.

·         The anti-irritant properties of marshmallow are well known for treating various skin problems. You can prepare poultices from its roots and leaves and apply them externally over boils and ulcers to reduce inflammation and irritation. It is also a good remedy for cuts, bruises, burns, and other wounds. Its emollient properties make it an effective treatment for dry flaky skin, dandruff, eczema, and several other skin disorders. It is commonly used in a number of anti-aging cosmetic products.

·         Marshmallow helps in boosting overall immunity and helps you stay healthy. It is good for maintaining good kidney and liver functioning. It also helps in detoxifying the body by effectively eliminating harmful toxins and other waste materials. Experts generally use the marshmallow root for increasing immunity.

·         Marshmallow is also a great treatment for problems like yeast infections, leucorrhea, gonorrhea, mastitis, piles, excess vaginal discharge, obesity, and catarrh.

Other Uses


·         Although uncommon, herbalists believe that marshmallow roots can be used for teething in babies.

·         The leaves and tops of the marshmallow plants are sometimes used in salads, and cooking.


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