When you think of marshmallows, those little delicious puffs of sugar that make hot chocolate perfect or heated make a delicious smore, you don’t think of the origins of the marshmallow and the health benefits that the marshmallow plant.  That’s right there is an actual plant called Marshmallow Root (Althaea Officinalis).  This is a perennial herb that has been used for centuries to remedy health issues.

Marshmallow root has been an herbal treatment for over 2000 years.  There are records from ancient Egypt and the Roman empire that record its use.  It grows in damp areas like along river banks and in marshes.

All parts of the marshmallow herb can be eaten.  You can eat the seeds, leaves and flowers.

 

What is Marshmallow root good for?

Marshmallow root helps loosen mucous and inhibit bacteria.  This ability to assist the body to moisten mucous membranes can bring relief to respiration, digestion and the urinary tract.

Taken in throat lozenge form, marshmallow root can relieve coughs.

May improve dry mouth.  Dry mouth is when your body is not producing enough saliva. A lack of saliva increases your risk for dental problems such as cavities and gum disease.

Marshmallow root may be helpful in treating digestive issues such as:  constipation, diarrhea, and stomach ulcers.

Can be used to treat a sunburn.  Apply topically to soothe sunburned skin.  This is not a sunscreen.  Sunburns can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.

 

How do you take marshmallow root?

Marshmallow root can be taken in teas, powders, supplement capsules, cough syrups, lozenges and salves.  It is often combined with other herbs and put in supplement capsule form to help treat digestion issues.

Look for throat lozenges with marshmallow root if you need to treat a cold.

 

Can marshmallow root be harmful?

Marshmallow root a a low risk of side effects.  It is possible you could be allergic to this herb.  Start with small doses if you are taking internally to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction.  If you are applying topically start with a small area and test.

Because marshmallow root has been used for centuries it is a fairly safe herbal treatment.

Possible side effects include:  upset stomach, dizziness, and skin irritation.

Be cautious if you take any prescription drug medications.  Check with your doctor before proceeding.  Can adversely affect some diabetes drugs.

Do not take if you are pregnancy, breastfeeding, diabetic or have an upcoming surgery.

You should always consult with your healthcare professional before adding any supplements or herbal treatments to your routine.

 

Interesting History of the Marshmallow

Our current marshmallow confection is rooted in the actual herb marshmallow root.  Candy makers originally used the roots sap to make marshmallows.  Up until 1900 marshmallow root was added to corn syrup, egg whites and water to create what we think of as a marshmallow.  Today marshmallows are made with sugar and gelatin.

 

Conclusion

Marshmallow Root is an herb that is used to support healthy digestion and a healthy immune system. By working with your body, marshmallow root helps to soothe the mucosal lining of the stomach and intestines to help support a healthy digestive tract.

As with many herbal treatments there is a long history of anecdotal evidence but little actual research to back up the claims.

 



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