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The Marshmallow Plant & What Can It Do For You?

Pink marshmallow flowers on white background When we talk about the marshmallow, and what it can do for you, don't get too excited thinking that you will have free rein to eat lots of that fluffy candy treat along with health benefits! No, the marshmallow is a plant and the leaves and the root are used to make medicine. It is actually a natural way of healing a variety of ailments and conditions. At the same time, don’t confuse marshmallow with the mallow (Malva sylvestris) flower and leaf.

And the benefits of the mashmallow plant?

Marshmallow forms a protective layer on the skin and lining of the digestive tract. It also contains properties that lessen coughing fits and help heal wounds.

How is marshmallow root used?

Herbalists and naturopaths will make this root into a tea or a cold infusion (that is a tea made with cold water). They will then use such infusion to treat different ailments. For example, mouth ulcers with mouth washes or bruises or burns with skin washes.

What conditions does the marshmallow plant treat?

  • Bruises and burns when a poultice can be applied to affected area for skin inflammation, burns or other wounds.
  • Helping to soothe muscle aches, sprains and inflammation.
  • Pain relief for the digestive tract as well as the urinary and respiratory organs.
  • Assisting in the passage of kidney stones.
  • Eliminating the toxins in the body.
  • Marshmallow leaf and root can be applied directly to the skin for abscesses and skin ulcers.
  • The leaf is used topically as a poultice for insect bites while the root can be applied to the skin as an ingredient in ointments for chapped skin as well as for pain and swelling of the feet and hands due to exposure to the cold (known as chilblains).

In foods, marshmallow leaf and root are used as a flavoring agent.

Today, marshmallow root is highly sought after as a demulcent

You might be wondering what a demulcent is? It is used to provide a soothing film over a mucus membrane to relieve minor pain and inflammation of that membrane by helping to sooth inflamed and irritated tissues of the digestive tract - as well as the urinary and respiratory organs.

Another important use is as a diuretic

It helps to increase the secretion and flow of urine, aiding in the passage of kidney stones while lessening the discomfort.

And there is more...

Historically, marshmallow root was also believed to have immune boosting properties while during the Middle Ages, the sap of the plant was commonly used as a tea to help soothe colds and sore throats. Today, the eliminating toxins benefits of marshmallow root help the body to cleanse and neutralize those toxins that can be contributing factors in the onset of arthritis pain and discomfort. If you would like to use this remedy yourself, you can find marshmallow root in a variety of forms including fluid extracts, tinctures, dried forms, as a capsule and in ointments or creams.   Sources: http://jonbarron.org/herbal-library/herbs/marshmallow-root http://cen.acs.org/articles/84/i16/Marshmallow.html http://www.naturalwellbeing.com/learning-center/Marshmallow_Root http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/marshmallow