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.

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