Marchmallow Root

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Althea Officinalis (Marshmallow Root)

Althea Officinalis commonly known as Marshmallow, Sweet Weed or Althea is native to Europe, preferring to grow in fields with large amounts of marsh.1 They tend to grow as perennials with thick white roots, heart-shaped leaves and pale pink petalled flowers; either the root, leaves or flowers can be used for medicinal purposes. The aerial parts of the flower are harvested in the summer once the flowers begin to bloom, while the root is gathered in the autumn season.1, 2
 
During ancient Egypt times, marshmallow was commonly used to aid in relieving coughs.3, 4 Theophrastus in 300 BCE reported that marshmallow root was given with sweet wine to relieve coughs.5 During AD 77, it was considered by Phiny to confer immunity from all diseases susceptible to the human body.5 Historically, marshmallow was also a key ingredient in sweets of the similar name.1
 
Primarily used to relieve and soothe inflamed mucous membranes due to it’s demulcent properties, marshmallow root can be used to treat mouth inflammations as well for various digestive concerns including alleviating constipation, peptic ulcers, gastritis, excess gastric acid secretion, irritable bowel syndrome and colitis.  
 
Marshmallow root can also be used as an ointment for dermatological conditions, including abscesses and skin boils as well as an oral mouth wash for inflamed oral conditions.1 Furthermore, marshmallow can also be used as a diuretic with kidney cleansing or concerns involving inflamed bladders.5
 
References
 
1. Chevallier, Andrew. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing, 1996. Print.
2. Weiss, RF. Herbal Medicine. England: Beaconsfield Pulishers Ltd, 1998. Print.
3. Grieve, Maud. A Modern Herbal. Tiger Books International, 1998. Print. 
4. Stuart, Malcolm. The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Herbalism. Classic Bookshops, 1979. Print.
5. Godfrey, Anthony and Saunders Paul R. Principles and Practice of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine: Volume I: Botanical Medicine Monographs. CCNM Press Inc, 2010. Print.

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