Medicinal Herb Profile: Marshmallow
Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Latin Name: Althaea officinalis
Plant Family: Malvaceae, the Mallow family.
Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, and roots.
Safety: Safe for general use. Marshmallow may inhibit absorption of other medications, so keep this in mind and and wait a few hours after taking prescription medications before taking marshmallow.
Uses: All parts of the plant are edible. Marshmallow is nutritive and immune-enhancing. It is most well known for it's mucilaginous (producing a high content of mucilage, a viscous or gelatinous solution) and demulcent (soothing and protecting mucous membranes) properties. It is a popular medicine for treating inflamed or irritated tissues of the respiratory system, urinary tract, digestive system, and skin. It can soothe a sore throat and aid a dry cough as it lubricates and moisturizes the lungs. For more information visit this plant profile by herbalist Roselee de la Foret.
Preparations: Use fresh or dry for storage and long-term use.
Cold Infusions: Marshmallow makes a sweet and tasty tea or cold infusion. To make a cold infusion, wrap chopped fresh or dried marshmallow in a tea bag or cloth and soak in cool water overnight, making sure to leave the plant material near the top of the jar, just under the surface of the water.
Tea: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried (or 4 teaspoons fresh) marshmallow leaves and flowers and cover; strain after 10 min. Drink 2 - 3 cups per day.
Topical: Marshmallow can be added to a bath to soothe dry, itchy skin or eczema. Leaves can be lightly steamed and applied directly to the skin to treat swelling, infections, or chapped skin.