Marshmallow officinalis

Parts Used: Roots, leaves, flowers.

Pharmacy name: marshmallow root – Althaeae radix (formerly: Radix Althaeae), marshmallow leaves – Althaeae folium (formerly: Folia Althaeae), marshmallow flowers – Althaeae flos (formerly: Flores Althaeae).

Botanical description. This perennial pubescent plant reaches a height of one and a half meters. Harvest mainly biennial roots. Leaves with petioles, alternate, with characteristic whitish tomentose pubescence, three to five lobed, irregularly crenate. In the axils of the leaves, white or pinkish large flowers sit in bunches on short pedicels. Blooms from June to August. Finding marshmallows in the wild in Central Europe is almost hopeless. On saline soils (near saltworks), near the Baltic Sea, in damp meadows, it still sometimes comes across, but all marshmallow comes into trade from cultivated plantations. The homeland of this plant, most likely, the countries of the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea and the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Collection and preparation. To get perfect raw materials, it is necessary to dry the freshly harvested roots very quickly. This can be done outdoors or under artificial heating. If the raw roots lie for a long time or the drying process is delayed, saprophyte fungi settle on the roots very quickly, which begin to destroy plant tissues. The raw material devalued in this way becomes stained and acquires a musty smell. The leaves and flowers are picked young and quickly dried in the shade.

active substances. The basis is a high content (up to 35%) of mucus. In addition, marshmallow has starch, sucrose, pectin; the abundance of minerals is also important. There is less mucus in the leaves and flowers, but there is some essential oil.

Healing action and application.Marshmallow has been known as a medicinal plant since ancient times. Interestingly, its medical use has remained virtually unchanged over the past centuries. Mucus relieves irritation during inflammatory processes inside the body (in the stomach and intestines), as well as on the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. Drugs containing mucus have justified themselves as a cough remedy, relieving irritation and facilitating sputum discharge. As a result, marshmallow root tea is successfully used for pain in the stomach and intestines, as well as for diarrhea. Marshmallow tea sweetened with honey is a good cough remedy, it alleviates its attacks in asthma, pneumoconiosis and emphysema. Gargling with marshmallow tea improves the condition of the gums, as well as the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat when they become inflamed. The effectiveness of marshmallow, both root and leaves, recognized by the German National Health Service. Mucus lays down a protective layer on irritated or too sensitive areas and causes their rapid healing. Hot lotions with marshmallow for boils and carbuncles also bring relief, accelerating their maturation. Althea root tea must be prepared in a special way so that the starch does not turn into a paste. Therefore, the word “decoction” is not suitable here, since it is impossible to boil the infusion. In such cases, the term “extract” is used. Therefore, the word “decoction” is not suitable here, since it is impossible to boil the infusion. In such cases, the term “extract” is used. Therefore, the word “decoction” is not suitable here, since it is impossible to boil the infusion. In such cases, the term “extract” is used.

  • Marshmallow root tea: Pour 2 teaspoons of chopped root into 1/4 liter of cold water and let stand for half an hour, stirring occasionally. Then shake well again and strain through cheesecloth. Ready tea slightly warm and drink slowly, in small sips.
  • Tea from marshmallow leaves: pour 2 teaspoons of leaves into 1/4 liter of hot water and let it brew for 10 minutes. In case of violations of the stomach and intestines, drink unsweetened tea. When coughing, it is recommended to sweeten with honey (do not sweeten for diabetics!). This tea can also be used for rinses and lotions.

My special advice. In the old days, marshmallow syrup was a favorite antitussive in pediatrics. If you add a few drops of anise oil solution, the so-called anise drops, which you can buy at a pharmacy, to it, you get a good children’s medicine for “barking” cough and bronchitis. Correct dose: 3-5 times every day for 1-2 teaspoons. Althea syrup can not be stored for a long time. And since doctors do not often prescribe it now, it is not often found in pharmacies either. Therefore, I give a recipe by which you can prepare the syrup yourself.

  • Marshmallow syrup: Place 2 g of coarsely ground marshmallow root on the filter and pour in a mixture of 1 g of Wine Spirit and 45 g of water. The flowing liquid is collected and the marshmallow is immediately poured with it again. Repeat this over and over for an hour. To 37 g of the liquid thus obtained, add 63 g of sugar and heat until the sugar dissolves.

Application in folk medicine. All of the above methods are also known by traditional medicine. True, she still often operates with leaves and flowers. Boiled leaves are used to make a pulp, which is applied to wounds, and a decoction of flowers with honey is used against coughs. The raw root is often recommended to be chewed for sore throats.

Side effects. The use of marshmallow does not cause concern. You just need to be very careful not to get moldy raw materials, so pharmaceutical products are preferable.

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