Marshmallow

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Disclaimer: This data is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to prescribe or treat specific problems. As with any herb or medication, please consult your Doctor of Naturopath or your Medical Doctor before trying anything new.

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"Althea officinalis"

The roots, flowers, and leaves of this plant are all used for different medicinal purposes.

Marshmallow contains the following properties:

Demulcent: Herbs which soften and relieve irritation of the mucus membranes.

Emollient: Remedies that may be applied externally to soften and soothe.

Lithotriptic: Agents that dissolve and discharge urinary and gall bladder stones and gravel.

Diuretic: Herbs that increase the flow of urine.

Nutritive: Herbs which supply a substantial amount of nutrients and aid in building and toning one's body.

Vulnerary: Agents which promote the healing of cuts, wounds, and burns by fighting infection and by stimlating cell growth.

Use of this herb affects the bladder, kidneys, & intestines, and the skin externally.

Marshmallow is high in mucilage and is a grand herb remedy for lubricating the intestines and kidneys where infection or inflammation is present. Internally this herb is used for lung problems, dysentery, ulcers, and diarrhea. This herb is also used as a diuretic, usually when combined with other diuretic herbs to help release stones.

Marshamallow is high in calcium and other minerals, and is therefore a nutritive herb.

Externally, a poultice is good for treating burns and wounds. Sore eyes benefit from being bathed in a tea steeped from marshmallow.

Some of the uses I have researched using the different parts of the herb are:

A decoction of the roots are said to help with Asthma; Allergies; Bed Wetting; Coughts; Dysentery; Hoarseness; intestinal inflammation; Kidney Stones; & Lung problems.

An Infusion of the flowers & leaves are said to help with: Dysentery, Kidney stones, Lactation, & Lung problems.

A Tincture, Fluid Extract, or powder are said to help with: Bladder problems, Kidney Stones, & Lung problems.

A syrup made is said to benefit Coughs, Hoarseness, Emphysema, and Throat Inflammations.

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Marshmallow is very widely distributed medicinal plant and is used in great quantities. It is comercially cultivated for this reason.

The main constituent in Marshmallow is mucilage, with others including starch, mineral salts and flavonoid compounds. THe roots have a greater amount of micilage and this is why they are preferred for medicinal purposes. The roots are collected in the fall when they are biggest.

Marshamllow is a perennial with velvety leaves. Its flowers bloom in late summer and are pink, clustered in the leaf axils. Marshmallow likes to grow in semi-damp areas.

The high mucilage in Marshmallow is widely used in the cosmetic industry for repairing damaged or burned skin. Creams, poultices, etc. can be made.

The natural sugars which the root contains are where "Real" Marshmallows used to come from, however, nowadays marshamallows are just a sugar candy and are not made from the marshmallow plant.

Rust often affects the leaves of growing Marshmallow and thereby renders the leaves useless for medicinal purposes.

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How To Make A Marshmallow Poultice

A poultice consists of dried, powdered, or macerated herbs that are moistened with hot water or herb tea and applied directly to the skin area to be treated. A clean towel, cloth, or bandage placed overt he poultice will hold it in place. Poultices are effective for drawing out infection and foreign bodies and relieving muscle spasms and pain. Whenever using poultices & plasters, make sure that the cloth covering the poultice is warm, and theat the person being treated is comfortably warm.

Poultice note: A sprain, bruise, or broken bone may require a cool cloth to ease the pain and swelling. Cool compresses made with cooling herbs such as aloe, borage, or comfrey leaf will help keep down swelling.

Use this poultice for non serious burns, skin eruptions, rashes, and dry skin patches.

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Marshamallow Poultice

Several marshmallow leaves.
Water to cover.

Boil water and then add the leaves. Let steep 10 minutes. Allow to cool to where you can put it on your skin. Place wet leaves over the affected skin area and cover with a warm cloth or bandage until most of the moisture is gone. Remove and repeat if necessary. Hint: You can redip the cloth in the tea that you steeped the leaves into and replace on top of the leaves to restore the poultice a time or two.

You can also use the roots, but boil them for 10 minutes in the water until softened and use the frothy water or tea to wet the cloth in.

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Marshmallow Under Eye Cream Soother Recipe

1 cup chopped marshmallow roots 1 quart of freshly boiled water

allow roots to steep in water overnight in a covered vessel. The next day strain off mixture and discard roots.

this liquid will be somewhat "frothy". Add the egg white of one egg and whip until thickened. Use sparinly under eyes to help relieve puffiness and dark circles.

this recipe is also good to put on sprains of the ankle, etc.

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Marcia Wilson
Journeywoman Herbalist
The Allways Natural Herb Farm
10/21/98

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© 1998- Linda Coffin

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