Also known as marshmallow, is a perennial herb native to Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa.Historically, the roots of Althaea officinalis have been used for medicinal purposes.
Marsh mallow or marshmallow
Althaea officinalis is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, diuretic, and expectorant.
Marshmallow is traditionally used for its demulcent properties to soothe respiratory and digestive issues, promote skin health, and potentially provide anti-inflammatory and urinary benefits.
Marshmallow’s (Althaea officinalis) roots, rich in mucilage, impart demulcent qualities, make it valuable for soothing respiratory ailments like coughs and sore throats, as well as supporting digestive health by protecting mucous membranes. The mucilage from marshmallow also can help with inflammation and minor wounds which is why it’s used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Marshmallow also has anti-inflammatory effects and can aid in skin conditions and wound healing. Additionally, marshmallow’s diuretic properties can help promote urinary production and overall health.
Consumed and used in diverse ways, marshmallow’s roots are commonly used to make soothing herbal teas, infusions, or decoctions that benefit respiratory and digestive health. It can also be used topically in the forms of ointments to soothe skin irritation and promote wound healing. Marshmallow supplements are consumed in the form of capsules or liquid extracts as a convenient way to incorporate its potential health benefits. While historically used in confectionery, modern marshmallow treats typically use gelatin.
Althaea officinalis has a rich history dating back to ancient civilizations most notably in Egypt where its roots were used both medicinally and as a confectionery treat mixed with honey. In ancient Greece and Rome, marshmallow was prized for its medicinal properties, particularly its mucilage-rich roots that were employed to soothe wounds and address respiratory and digestive issues. In the 19th century, it found its way into throat lozenges and cough syrups capitalizing on its mucilaginous nature for throat soothing. While the modern marshmallow confectionery has shifted to using gelatin, recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in marshmallow within herbal medicine circles with teas, supplements, and topical applications.