Herbal Profile: Marshmallow Root |
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Herbal Profile: Marshmallow Root

Sarena-Rae Santos March 31, 2017

By Sarena-Rae Santos, Contributing Writer 

What is Marshmallow Root?

Marshmallow root is sometimes called Mallards, Mauls, Schloss Teai, Cheeses, Mortification Koot, Mallow, White mallow, Common marshmallow, Mortification root, Sweet weed, Wymote, or its botanical name Althaea Officinalis (1). This perennial herb has pale pink flowers, white roots, and thick, soft leaves with toothed margins 2-3 inches in length and 1.25 inches in width. The entire plant can reach up to 7 feet in height (2). Marshmallow is found in southern and western Europe, western Asia, and the northeastern region of North America (3).

Health Benefits of Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root is well known for its many healing properties, which come from the herb’s mucilage. 

Antioxidant Properties

Antioxidants can help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Research has found marshmallow root extract comparative to standard antioxidants (4). One study suggests that the color’s darkness can indicate the plant’s antioxidant content (5).

May Relieve Coughs, Colds & Pain

Marshmallow root is often used to help manage cold symptoms like cough or fever. Studies have found that marshmallow root acts as an enzyme to loosen mucus and inhibit bacteria (6). Marshmallow root’s high mucilaginous content is likely what makes this benefit possible. One study learned that participants who took an herbal cough syrup with marshmallow root improved 86-90 percent of coughs from colds, bronchitis, or respiratory tract diseases with mucus formation (7). Research suggests marshmallow root is suitable for pain control or irritation, especially of the throat (8). 

May Promote Wound Healing

Thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, marshmallow root may help support wound healing. An animal study suggested that topically applied marshmallow root extract could potentially treat gram-positive bacteria and increase wound healing (9). Gram-positive bacteria are accountable for over 50 percent of infections that occur (10). 

May Relieve Skin Irritation

Thanks to its wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, marshmallow root may also help relieve skin irritation caused by furunculosis, eczema, and dermatitis. A study review indicated that marshmallow root extract-containing ointment reduced skin irritation and suggested the herb stimulated specific cells due to these properties (11). Another study suggested topical application of marshmallow root can enhance the appearance of skin post-UV radiation exposure (12).

Diuretic Properties

Diuretic properties help rid the body of excess salt (sodium) and water (13). Diuretics help the kidneys flush the extra salt and water through urination, like a cleanse for the kidneys and bladder (14). Studies indicate marshmallow root has diuretic properties (15). Additionally, studies have found marshmallow root can support overall urinary health and relieve internal irritation and inflammation in the urinary tract (16). Another study suggests marshmallow root’s antibacterial properties can help treat urinary tract infections (17). I highly recommend Earthley’s Vaccine Detox for these benefits.

Gut Healing Properties

Gut health is one of the most critical issues in health because it’s related to just about everything else in your body. Studies have found that marshmallow root can help soothe irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract resulting in gut-healing properties (18). In one study, researchers suggested that aqueous extracts and polysaccharides from marshmallow roots can create a protective layer of tissue in the digestive tract and support tissue regeneration, resulting in the ability to treat irritated mucous membranes (19). 

May Aid in Digestion

Your diet is vital to your health, but so is being able to digest it properly. Research indicates marshmallow root has the potential to soothe the digestive tract resulting in relief from digestive conditions, including constipation, heartburn, and intestinal colic (20). One animal study found marshmallow root to have anti-ulcer properties in rat subjects (21). I highly recommend Earthley’s Digest-Ease for these benefits. 

May Promote Heart Health

Unfortunately, heart disease is the world’s number 1 cause of death (22). Due to the incredibly complex determinants of heart disease and various possible contributions, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact way to prevent it. Still, you can at least take steps to lower your overall risk. One animal study found that marshmallow root can treat lipemia, platelet aggregation, and inflammation, all linked to heart disease. Additionally, researchers found that after a month of marshmallow root supplementation resulted in a positive impact on HDL cholesterol levels (23).

Safety Concerns

As per trusted herbalist Richard Whelan, no adverse effects are expected (or reported) from taking marshmallow root in tea or tincture, even in high or frequent doses. It may be confidently taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding and used by the young or old safely. 

The only time there may be a need for caution with Marshmallow is when the person is using certain drugs. Some research suggests that taking Marshmallow might decrease the need for hypoglycemic medications, e.g., glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), and rosiglitazone (Avandia). It would be wise to check blood sugar levels while using the herb, and if they go too low, then he would suggest using less of the drugs, not the herb (24)!

How to Use Marshmallow Root

You can find marshmallow root in dried bulk, pills, powders, teas, extracts, or tinctures. Tinctures always contain the most concentrated amount of herbs. Teas and soups are also options, especially when following ayurvedic medicine recipes. If you’re a DIY person, some great starter recipes are:

Follow the recommendations of any supplement;  some of my recommendations include:

Earthley’s Digest-Ease promotes healthy digestion and helps with leaky gut symptoms. It can be used regularly to promote overall gut health and wellness or occasionally to relieve mild stomach upset. This combination of herbs helps to coat an irritated gut, relieve an overactive gut, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system. It can help soothe IBS, food allergies, elimination issues, gas, and more. It’s a necessary part of your natural remedy cabinet!

Earthley’s Leave-in Conditioner is the perfect pair to our Rosemary-Lavender Shampoo Bar. It smoothes, nourishes, and detangles hair while also toning the scalp. We have two formulas: Thick (best for dry hair) and Fine (best for oily hair).

Earthley’s Mama’s Magic Milk Boost is an herbal tincture created to help increase milk supply with all-natural ingredients. This product is high in vitamins and minerals to nourish the body and contains herbs to soothe baby’s tummy. This tincture is made with the highest-quality ingredients and supports both mom and baby on their breastfeeding journey. 

Earthley’s Vaccine Detox is an herbal tincture that helps to restore wellness post-vaccination by supporting gut health. Six herbs combine to help heal leaky gut, support liver health, and boost the immune system, while chlorella powder removes heavy metals from the body. Whether you have taken a vaccine recently or in the past, had a vaccine injury, or are simply looking to detox from the toxins around you, this tincture is for you!

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything.  If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.

If you have marshmallow root in your natural medicine cabinet, how do you use it?

This is the writings of:

Sarena-Rae Santos is the founder of The Holistic Hipppie blog, dedicated to natural health and plant-based eating. Her journey to natural health began in 2019 when she swayed away from allopathic medicine after becoming wheelchair-bound due to the side effects of 20+ medications. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and dizziness due to nystagmus were the sources of her many health complications. Sarena's symptoms diminished after adopting a healthier lifestyle surrounding whole foods and herbs, leaving her a fantastic quality of life and a passion for educating people.
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1 Comment

  1. For the marshmallows, does that marshmallow root need to be powdered or anything? The kind I have is kind of bigger pieces than I think I’d like to chew on in a marshmallow.

    Reply

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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