Marshmallow Root/Althaea Officinalis
When one thinks about marshmallow, usually they think of the sweet fluffy treat! In truth, marshmallows today resemble nothing of the real fruit and nut snack that they were derived from, and are not half as wholesome. In fact the Marshmallow plant has been a nourishing food and medicinal valued by many cultures for thousands of years! The ancient Egyptians valued the marshmallow plant as a food of the Gods! They cultivated it in Egypt and traded with it. Marshmallow can be found growing in marshy areas all over the world today.
Traditionally, the Egyptians would mix honey, nuts, dates, and marshmallow sap to make the sweet treat. During the 19th century doctors extracted juice from the roots and cooked them with egg whites and sugar, whipped this mixture into meringue that they would harden and use as a medicinal candy to treat sore throats! Over the years things have been added to the recipe and others taken out. Now marshmallows are far from what they were.
As a medicinal Marshmallow is amazing! The Greek called the Marshmallow “the official healer”, Althos in Greek means “to heal”! This root has been used to treat ailments from without to within. The Greek especially praised the use of Marshmallow in salves and poultices to heal wounds from great to small. It is great for many skin conditions including bug bites, rashes, skin infections, and mastitis(an infection of breast tissue that results in pain, swelling, redness, fever, and chills). It can even be used as a “drawing paste” to remove splinters and bee stings! Marshmallow Root, in the recent past, has even been successfully used to treat gangrene in patients that would have lost limbs! It is also very useful in the treatment of internal sicknesses aided by its mucilage qualities. When steeped in water Marshmallow Root thickens, almost becoming slimy! This coupled with its antibiotic qualities allows it to help in the treatment of internal ailments by coating the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. It is a powerful diuretic. Great in teas, one can even chew a small amount of root to stimulate the kidneys and bladder! Now that’s powerful!
Marshmallow Root is a favorite with us, for its flavor in teas, and its great medicinal value. It is really a must have for those seeking healing plants, and we know it can serve you well!
Health Benefits and Uses:
Salves and Poultices: Marshmallow is one of the most useful plants for scrapes and cuts. Shred root, mix into water to make a thick paste. Spread onto a cloth and apply to effected area. It is important, however, to keep in mind that deep cuts should not have the root material placed inside of the wound. Use a cloth for application.
Wound Wash: Soaking the root in water can make an effective wash for wounds. Sometimes people would soak wounds in Marshmallow baths to disinfect deep wounds. Skin infections and irritations can also be treated with a wash or decoction.
Decoction: An alternating hot and cold application with a cloth soaked in a Marshmallow decoction has been used in gangrenous wounds. This Decoction can also be used to treat skin conditions, as well as internally to treat stomach and intestinal ulcers.
“Drawing Paste”: When mixed with a very small amount of water and applied to a bee sting or splinter, mucilage effect of Marshmallow Root can help draw out the stinger or splinter.
Internal Healing Tea: A tea can be made to treat indigestion, heartburn, ulcers, IBS(irritable bowel syndrome), and constipation.
Diuretic Tea: As a diuretic Marshmallow tea can cleanse the kidneys and bladder of toxins and calcium build up. It has also been used effectively to treat kidney inflammations, bladder infections, and cystitis.
Sore Mouth and Gums: A mouth wash can be made to treat the mouth and gums.
Preparations and Dosage:
Tea: About 5 to 6 grams of root steeped in 8oz of hot water makes a great tea.
Decoction: The decoction can be made by boiling Marshmallow Root in water for 15 to 20 minutes.
Mouth Wash: Soak about 2 grams into a cup of cold water for about 2 hours. Remove the root and gargle the water.
Baths and Washes: Soaking Marshmallow Root in warm or cool water for an hour or two makes a cleansing bath. The amount of root required may very.
Precautions and Sid Effects:
Marshmallow Root is a very safe medicinal to work with. With no known toxic effects ever having been reported almost every one can use it!
The internal use of Marshmallow Root may cause blood sugar levels to change and one should exercise caution if you have liver disease, are pregnant, diabetic, or have an alcohol dependency.
***These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. ***