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Marshmallow (Althea officinalis)


Marshmallow known by its scientific name as Althea officinalis is a perennial herb that has been valued all over the world for its healing properties. On the other hand, it is known as marshmallow root, white mallow root and sweet weed among others. This plant is mostly found in the European countries such as Virginia, Massachusetts, United States and Britain. It is important to note that Marshmallow requires moist areas, salt marshes, river banks and wet meadows for it to thrive. Althea officinalis is described as having fleshy and upright stems that grows up to three to four feet. It has pale yellow roots that tend to be long, thick, tapered and thick.  Even though the plant has a tough root, its exterior is flexible enough. It has leaves that are round shaped although they have margins that are toothed irregularly and about three to five lobes. It is imperative to note that the leaves and stem are covered with soft and velvety foliage downwards.  Lastly, its flowers tend to have 5 reddish white petals.

Medicinal Uses

There are various potential medicinal uses that this herb has to offer and this has in turn made marshmallow be among the most sought for herbs for various healing purposes. Read on to learn more of these medicinal uses.

  1. One medicinal use of this herb is that, it helps in soothing mucous membranes that has been irritated.
  2. It helps in treating various body conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, sore throat, coughs, stomach ulcers, skin inflammation and indigestion among others.
  3. Marshmallow is used for boosting the immune system making an individual healthy and strong.
  4. The herb plays a major role in healing fresh wounds. All you need is to apply the herb on the affected part and within some few days, it will heal up.
  5. It is used to calm down sore gums in that, an individual is required to use baking soda to brush his or her teeth. Once done, add some few drops of marshmallow root extract and this will in turn heal the sore gums.
  6. There are people who tend to have swellings on the inflamed hemorrhoids and as such, it is important to take marshmallow in form of tea to soothe and reduce the swelling.

 Dosage and Administration

Just like any other herb, it is important to know the dosage and administration that is required before you can take the herb. All this is done by consulting the doctor.

  1. It is believed that there is no exact data that poses a suggestion on the appropriate dose a child has to take. As such, it is imperative to ask your child’s pediatrician in order to get the correct dose.
  2. When it comes to adults, the dose taken will solely depend on the form in which the herb is being used. Keep in mind that marshmallow can be taken in form of capsule, tea, tincture and poultice among others.

Parts Used

In Althea officinalis, it is important to note that it has several parts that exist to make the plant effective. However, it is important to note that not all parts are used when it comes to be used for various purposes. Some of the parts that are used include the following:-

  1. The leaves of the plant are used especially for healing purposes. All that happens is that, the leaves are harvested, dried, cleaned and ground in order to make tea or extracts. Remember, the leaves have a gummy substance commonly known as mucilage which when applied on skins tend to reduce inflammations.
  2. The other part that is used is the root which is dried and boiled in order to make cough syrups, tinctures and even capsules. On the other hand, if the root is mixed with water, it tends to form a gel that is slick and then used for coating the throat and reducing various irritations.


Here are some of the important benefits of marshmallow.

  1. If marshmallow root tea is used, it helps in speeding the healing of minor burns, scrapes as well as superficial cuts.
  2. It helps diabetic people since it contains sucrose which is a natural sugar.
  3. It helps in soothing stomach upsets, peptic/stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation.
  4. Used in the kitchen for cooking various delicacies as a recipe.

Side Effects

There are some side effects that one can have after taking this herb without consulting a doctor. Some of them include the following:

  1. One may feel drowsy and nauseous for a period of time.
  2. For those who are diabetic, taking the herb without consultation can result to contraindication that may not go well with them.

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