What is Marshmallow Root and What is it Used For?
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Such a beautiful plant, with such strong healing powers. Marshmallow root is one of my favorite of all herbs and plants.
The genus name Althaea comes from the Greek altho, 11 associated with healing”, making marshmallow root highly regarded in ancient times.
Despite being a demulcent herb, marshmallow is a polycrest herb.
Benefits of Marshmallow Root
In English, that just means that marshmallow root is an amazing, powerful plant. You can create an infused tea with it, and use it for mouth wash (great for canker sores and sore throats); it treats heartburn and can soothe inflammation from stomach ulcers. Some people use marshmallow root as a treatment for bruises, burns, cuts, and scrapes.
“Marshmallow roots are high in polysaccharides and starches. By using a cold infusion you extract mainly the mucilaginous polysaccharides. If you simmer the root you also extract the starches in the plant (which is okay; the cold infusion is considered to be a purer extract of the mucilage.)”
Marshmallow root has a long history (dating back thousands of years) as an herbal remedy for cough, sore throat and other respiratory problems such as bronchitis and whooping cough, also known as pertussis. It is safe to use in children as well as adults, and even helps with coughs associated with asthma.
“Traditionally, marshmallow root has been used on bruises, muscle aches, sprains, burns, and inflammations. A tea of the leaves has been used to soothe sore throat and as an expectorant in bronchitis and whooping cough. Like many members of the mallow family, its tea is considered soothing to an upset stomach.”
We have only used it for a few things (sore throats and colds), but it is so great for coughs! My youngest daughter, Sapphire, has severe asthma. She has been coughing a lot at night and nothing has been helping for more than an hour at a time. The marshmallow root infused tea is helping her sleep through the night!
Many times, marshmallow root is recommended for urinary tract infections, as well as kidney stones. While I was chatting with the herbalist at the nutrition store last week, she said it really helps break up kidney stones and even helps with bladder infections!
Risks or Side Effects
Marshmallow root is safe for everyone to use, but of course you need to do your own research before trying it out. Marshmallow root can inhibit the absorption of other drugs, so before combining your prescriptions with marshmallow root, speak to your herbalist or physician.
Where to get it
You can purchase marshmallow root in extract or dried/herb form, as well as capsule form. We have been using the capsules for Saff's cough lately, just because it's more convenient than the tea, and it is working just as well. If you have a health food store near you, ask them if they have any marshmallow root available so you can purchase it locally.