Marshmallow (Althea officinalis)

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis)

(This photo shows the common species of Europe)

• The most common form of Marshmallow is Malva Neglecta. It is also known as cheesies, because of the cheese shaped seeds it produces.
• Althea officinalis is more commonly seen in England and Europe.
• Althea officinalis is a taller species with mauve or blue flowers.
• This plant has stems that originate from a deep tap root and are low spreading with branches that reach from a few centimetres to almost 60 centimetres long.

When to collect:
• Stems die down in Autum

What to eat:
• Leaves, flowers and roots
• The leaves are picked in August, when the flowers are just coming into bloom. They should be stripped off singly and gathered only on a fine day, in the morning, after the dew has been dried off by the sun.

• Treat gangrene. Soak the afflicted limb. Drink cups of marshmallow tea.
• Marshmallow is also a diuretic and is good for the kidneys. One of Dr. Christopher’s students gave her a son a marshmallow root to chew on when he was doubled over in pain from severe kidney pain from being unable to void his urine. Within seconds of chewing the root he was able to void his urine, and received relief from the excruciating pain.
• Other uses of Marshmallow include soothing and healing to the inflamed respiratory, alimentary, intestinal, and genitourinary areas. It has been used for mastitis, skin irritations, and in sitz baths to relieve rectal irritations. It is also helpful in dealing with gravel, inflammation of the kidneys, cystitis, and bladder infections. The herb is mainly used internally, especially for bronchial afflictions. It can also be used for constipation.
• Historically, Marshmallow has been used by a variety of people for a variety of ailments. Hippocrates felt that it was of immense value in the treatment of wounds. Charlemagne demanded that it be cultivated in his domain. The ancient Arabs used the leaves to
• Contains polysaccharide that is effective in suppressing cough. Studys have proven the plant to be more effective then Codine.
• The great demulcent and emollient properties of Marsh Mallow make it useful in inflammation and irritation of the alimentary canal, and of the urinary and respiratory organs. The dry roots boiled in water give out half their weight of a gummy matter like starch. Decoctions of the plant, especially of the root, are very useful where the natural mucus has been abraded from the coats of the intestines, The decoction can be made by adding 5 pints of water to 1/4 lb. of dried root, boiling down to 3 pints and straining: it should not be made too thick and viscid. It is excellent in painful complaints of the urinary organs, exerting a relaxing effect upon the passages, as well as acting curatively. This decoction is also effective in curing bruises, sprains or any ache in the muscles or sinews. In haemorrhage from the urinary organs and in dysentery, it has been recommended to use the powdered root boiled in milk. The action of Marsh Mallow root upon the bowels is unaccompanied by any astringency.
• Boiled in wine or milk, Marsh Mallow will relieve diseases of the chest, constituting a popular remedy for coughs, bronchitis, whooping-cough, etc., generally in combination with other remedies. It is frequently given in the form of a syrup, which is best adapted to infants and children.
• Marsh Mallow Water
‘Soak one ounce of marsh mallow roots in a little cold water for half an hour; peel off the bark, or skin; cut up the roots into small shavings, and put them into a jug to stand for a couple of hours; the decoction must be drunk tepid, and may be sweetened with honey or sugar-candy, and flavoured with orange-flower water, or with orange juice. Marshmallow water may be used with good effect in all cases of inveterate coughs, catarrhs, etc.’ (Francatelli’s Cook’s Guide.)
• For Gravel, etc.
‘Put the flower and plant (all but the root)of Marsh Mallows in a jug, pour boiling water, cover with a cloth, let it stand three hours – make it strong. If used for gravel or irritation of the kidney, take 1/2 pint as a Tea daily for four days, then stop a few days, then go on again. A teaspoonful of gin may be added when there is no tendency to inflammation.’ (From a family recipe-book.)
The powdered or crushed fresh roots make a good poultice that will remove the most obstinate inflammation and prevent mortification. Its efficacy in this direction has earned for it the name of Mortification Root. Slippery Elm may be added with advantage, and the poultice should be applied to the part as hot as can be borne and renewed when dry. An infusion of 1 OZ. of leaves to a pint of boiling water is also taken frequently in wineglassful doses. This infusion is good for bathing inflamed eyes.
An ointment made from Marsh Mallow has also a popular reputation, but it is stated that a poultice made of the fresh root, with the addition of a little white bread, proves more serviceable when applied externally than the ointment. The fresh leaves, steeped in hot water and applied to the affected parts as poultices, also reduce inflammation, and bruised and rubbed upon any place stung by wasps or bees take away the pain, inflammation and swelling. Pliny stated that the green leaves, beaten with nitre and applied, drew out thorns and prickles in the flesh.
The flowers, boiled in oil and water, with a little honey and alum, have proved good as a gargle for sore throats. In France, they form one of the ingredients of the Tisane de quatre fleurs, a pleasant remedy for colds.
—Preparations and Dosage—Fluid extract leaves. 1/2 to 2 drachms.
• Marshmallow forms a protective layer on the skin and lining of the digestive tract.
• Because it contains salicylic acid (the natural forerunner of synthetic aspirin), Marshmallow has been used to relieve the pain of headaches and muscle aches; and along with its ability to expel excess fluid and mucus, it also helps to ease sore throat and sinusitis.

• rich in mucilage, paraffin, pectin, lecithin, quercetin, salicylic acid, tannins, amino acids, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3 and C.
• The root contains a hefty 35% mucilage, a slippery, slimy, indigestible complex sugar that coats, cools, and moisturizes wounded, inflamed tissue from the throat to the intestines and on through the urinary tract.



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