Marshmallow is known for its mucilaginous qualities. It was once used in French confectionery but is unlike the puffy candy that received its name.
Marshmallow usage dates back to ancient Greek and Roman Cultures. It grows wild in wet areas, usually bordering marshes. Marshmallow has been used in traditional European medicine for more than 2,000 years, and its therapeutic use was first recorded in the 9th Century.
Historical uses for marshmallow are for abscesses (topical), antibacterial, antidote to poisons, antioxidant, aphrodisiac, arthritis, bee stings, bronchitis, boils (topical), bruises (topical), burns (topical), cancer, chilblains (erythema of the extremities with cold exposure), colitis, congestion, constipation, cough, Crohn's disease, cystitis, demulcent, dermatitis (topical), diarrhea, diuretic, diverticulitis, duodenal ulcer, emollient, enteritis, expectorant, functional gastrointestinal disorders (evaluating functional disturbances of the esophagus), gastroenteritis, inflammation, ileitis, immunostimulant, impotence, indigestion, inflammation, insect bites, irritable bowel syndrome, laxative, mouthwash, mucilage, muscular pain, pap smear (abnormal), peptic ulcer disease, polyuria, soothing agent, sore throat, sprains, skin ulcers (topical), toothache, ulcerative colitis, urethritis, urolithiasis, urinary irritation, urinary tract infection, varicose ulcers (topical), vomiting, vulnerary, whooping cough, wounds (minor). Many of these areas lack sufficient evidence for its use. Please see the Research Tab for more information.
The expert panel, the German Commission E, reports that marshmallow leaf and root alleviate local irritation, inhibit mucociliary activity, and stimulate phagocytosis. The Commission E has approved marshmallow for treating irritation of oral and pharyngeal mucosa, mild inflammation of the gastric mucosa, and dry cough.
The root contains 25-35% of the mucilage; however, the content of purified mucilage is much lower. Asparagine, sugar, pectin and tannin have also been identified in the root.
Although clinically unproven, marshmallow may interfere with the absorption of oral medications. Therefore, ingestion of marshmallow several hours before or after other medicinal agents may be warranted.
We prepare our Marshmallow Extract from fresh (undried) roots of Althaea officinalis plants which are Certified Organically Grown on our own farm without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
To assure optimal extraction of Marshmallow's bioactive compounds, the roots are hand-dug in late autumn or early spring and are then taken directly to our laboratory and promptly extracted while still fresh and succulent.
Our Marshmallow is never fumigated or irradiated.
Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) Root Extract
Fresh herb / menstruum ratio: 1 : 2.5
Inactive Ingredients: Alcohol, Distilled Water.
Recommended Dosage: SHAKE WELL BEFORE USING. Two to five times per day take 30 to 40 drops in a little water.
Antimicrobial effects: Marshmallow given intraperitoneally to rats at a dose of 10mg/kg exhibits phagocytic activity, suppresses mucociliary action, and stimulates phagocytosis. It also exhibits antimicrobial activity against P. aeroginosa, P. vulgaris and S. aureus.
Antitussive/mucociliary effects: Mucilaginous herbs like marshmallow root may inhibit coughing by forming a protective coating on the mucosal lining of the respiratory tract, shielding it from irritants. Marshmallow reduces the transport velocity of isolated ciliary epithelia and may protect mucous layers in the hypopharynx, exert spasmolytic, antisecretory, and bactericidal properties. Antitussive activity has been demonstrated by oral doses of marshmallow root extract and a marshmallow polysaccharide in cats as compared to a non-narcotic cough suppressant. Demulcent properties of marshmallow may be due to reduction of local irritation that causes gastritis.
Dermatologic effects: Combinations of marshmallow preparations with steroids have been used in the management of dermatological conditions, and the plant appears to possess anti-inflammatory activity that potentates the effect of topical steroids. Marshmallow extract in vivo stimulates phagocytosis and the release of cytokines from monocytes, including interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor.
Marshmallow mucilage is not altered in the digestive tract until it reaches the colon, where it may be partially or completely digested via bacterial action.