Althea officinalis

Marshmallow - Althea officinalis (in the Malvaceae or Mallow family)

Part used: Root.

Taste/smell: Mucilaginous, nutritious, slightly sweet.

Tendencies: Moistening, cooling.

Dosage: Decoction: 1 tablespoon per cup of water; or 1:2 fresh strength liquid extract: 30-60 drops 1-4 times per day.

Mental picture and specific indications: It is specific for inflammatory conditions.

Use: (a) Antispasmodic, (b) Anti-inflammatory.

Marshmallow is used for soothing mucous membrane irritation in the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract and urinary tract. Its anti-inflammatory activity appears to potentiate the effects of topical steroids. Internally, it is used for acute respiratory tract disorders, inflammation of the mouth, throat, stomach, intestines, bladder, kidney and urethra. Externally, it is used for wounds, burns, ulcers and all inflammatory skin disorders.

It contains polysaccharides, mucilage (25%-35% in root), (6-9% in leaves), starch, pectin, saccharose, flavonoids, phenolic acids and coumarins.

Contraindications: Oral drugs or herbs taken at the same time as marshmallow may have delayed absorption due to its mucilage content.

Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.