Whenever I think about marshmallows, what usually comes to mind are images of white, fluffy, sweet confectioneries that are widely used in baking and hotdog grills.
It’s impossible for anyone not to know them!
I once wondered about how they are made and when they were discovered.
Marshmallow turns out to be from a green perennial plant discovered in the early 2000BC.
Had we lived back then, we wouldn’t probably get a chance to taste it as they were only a delicacy for the gods and royalty!
Thankfully, that isn’t the case now!
Well, so much for the popular candy because marshmallow root is also a goldmine of medicinal benefits.
What is a Marshmallow Root?
Althaea officinalis (scientific name) dates back thousands of years ago when natives from Africa, North America, Europe, and Western Asia discovered it as a great folk remedy for various health conditions.
This soft plant has edible roots, leaves, and flowers.
The roots are generally brown with a fibrous husk appearance while the leaves are green, diamond-shaped, and have a pointed tip.
Just like other medicinal herbs, marshmallow roots are usually harvested in the autumn season.
However, in some areas with shorter seasons, harvesting may be hindered by the sudden drop in temperature – as winter season approaches – causing the ground to freeze.
For this reason, some people either wait for the snow to melt (potential for rodents and rabbits) or harvest in Spring instead.
While Spring may provide a better opportunity for harvesters, rodents may still sneak their way to take their share.
But at least during this time, you can better manage your harvest and avoid total loss.
The most interesting part is the root’s healing properties!
The entire plant secretes a bodily fluid called “mucilage,” which is a thick, transparent, gluey substance (also found in some microorganisms) that contains a lot of medicinal properties, and are also used as adhesives, textiles, paper, skin care & hair solutions and dyes!
Uses Of Marsh Mallow Root
The use of marshmallows as provision for food and medicine continues up until today.
Before it was made into candy, it was first a treatment for many health problems, like gastrointestinal discomforts and sore throats.
When consumed in capsule, tea, and tincture form, it forms a protective layer in the mucous membrane, preventing bacteria and viruses from causing infection.
Mucilage also works by soothing inflamed and irritated areas, such as the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, pharynx, and bladder.
Extracting beneficial mucilage from the root can be done in different ways, but mainly through cold infusion.
What you’ll need:
- Marshmallow root
- A sealed, clean jar
- Lukewarm water
- Place marshmallow root inside the jar about a quarter of the way
- Fill the jar with lukewarm water then cover it.
- Let it sit for about 4 hours or you can go overnight. You will notice a change in the color of the water, from white to light yellow.
- After 4 hours, open the lid and you will notice that the water has become thick and sticky.
- Strain the roots and pour the liquid to another clean container.
- Now you’re ready to use it.
Swish liquid infusion in the mouth to soothe ulcers, sore throat, inflamed gums, cuts, and sores, then gargle for about 30 seconds then spit it out!
Home Remedy for Heartburn
Burning pain in the chest may be a sign of heartburn.
If you’ve been diagnosed with heartburn, this marshmallow root liquid solution can be a readily accessible, cheap (nearly free) home remedy for you.
Mucilage works like bandaids!
It can heal wounds and soothe inflammation in your digestive system.
Long time ago, natives applied marshmallow root to cuts, scalds, bruises, swellings and burns on the skin.
It served as skin wash during their time.
Fast forward to today, it’s now a skin care product & topical ointment being used around the globe.
Colds and Flu
Colds and flu are often a result of infection and inflammation in the throat and lungs.
Consumption of marshmallow root will not only reduce inflammation and sooth affected areas, but also triggers phagocytosis, a body’s immune response to infection done by stimulating phagocytes and amoeboid protozoans to ingest unwanted bacteria and eradicate them, hastening the healing process.
This incredible healing properties of marshmallow root has pushed more researchers to do further studies.
Just recently, a scientific research study shows that marshmallow teas and syrups are good for lubricating or hydrating the lungs (due to hot dry climates) and suppressing cough.
Kidneys and bladders are prone to infection.
Renal experts say that there are 850 million people suffering from kidney problems worldwide!
The overwhelming number has frightened many and is now a major health concern.
One of the natural approaches to cleansing the bladder and kidneys is by consuming marshmallow root!
Known as a powerful diuretic, it kills and flashes out bacteria that are attached to the walls of the urinary tract, thereby decreasing inflammation and relieving irritation.
Breast Pain & Swelling
Marshmallow root is a powerful pain reliever and swelling reducer for breastfeeding mothers.
As a natural herb, no adverse reactions have been reported yet, so it is generally safe and effective for lactating mothers to use.
You can either consume marshmallow root in tea or syrup form or apply topically (with standard techniques) to achieve desired results.
You may also try a marshmallow root cream and apply it directly to cracked and sore nipples to get instant relief!
Tincture of dried herb: 1 – 4 mL of 1:5 in 25% 3 times/day.
Water extract: 2 – 4 grams of root infused overnight in cold water.
Dosage information from Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman.
If you’re taking other drugs, it is best not to take them together with marshmallow root as mucilage may inhibit their absorption in the body.
Marshmallow root’s may have enticed more people recently because of their numerous benefits, keep in mind that this herb is not a substitute for doctor prescribed medicine. Especially if you have an underlying disease condition or are taking maintenance medications, It is best to consult your doctor first before taking.