Thursday, August 9, 2012

Import blog herbs Marshmallow

Blog EntryNov 7, '07 8:22 PM
for everyone

I decided to feature this week Marsh Mallow or Althea Officinalis
This herb came to mind with allergies, flu, colds etc time is here already
from Wikipedia :


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The marshmallow is a confection that, in its modern form, consists of sugar or corn syrup, beaten egg whites, gelatin that has been pre-softened in water, gum arabic, and flavorings, whipped to a spongy consistency. The traditional recipe used an extract from the mucilaginous root of the marshmallow plant, a shrubby herb (Althaea officinalis), instead of gelatin; the mucilage acted as a cough suppressant .
Commercial marshmallows are a late nineteenth century innovation. Since Doumak's patented extrusion process of 1948, marshmallows are extruded as soft cylinders, cut in sections and rolled in a mix of finely powdered cornstarch and confectioner's sugar. Current brands of commercially made marshmallows include Kraft and Nestle.
Marshmallows are also used in hot chocolate or café mocha (mochachino), Mallomars, Peeps and other candy, Rice Krispie treats, ice cream flavors such as Rocky Road, and S'mores, on top of candied yams during Thanksgiving, and in several other foodstuffs.
Althaea is a genus of 6-12 species of perennial herbs, including the marshmallow plant whence the confection got its name, native to Europe and western Asia. They are found on the banks of rivers and in salt marshes, preferring moist, sandy soils. The stems grow to 1-2 m tall, and flower in mid summer. The leaves are palmately lobed with 3-7 lobes. Althaea species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix quadrigemina.
The genus formerly included a number of additional species now treated in the genus Alcea (Hollyhocks).
The root contains starch (37%), mucilage (11%), pectin (11%), flavonoids, phenolic acids, sucrose, and asparagine.

[edit] Uses

In herbalism mallow is used as a gargle to treat mouth and throat ulcers. It is also useful for gastric ulcers.
The flowers and young leaves can be eaten. They are often added to salads or boiled and fried. They are also used in cosmetics for the skin.
The root has been used since Egyptian antiquity in a honey-sweetened confection useful in the treatment of sore throat. The later French version of the recipe, called pâte de guimauve, included an eggwhite meringue and was often flavored with rose water. Pâte de guimauve more closely resembles contemporary commercially available marshmallows, which ironically no longer contain any actual marshmallow


Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)
Scientific classification
from here 
---Description---The stems, which die down in the autumn, are erect, 3 to 4 feet high, simple, or putting out only a few lateral branches. The leaves, shortly petioled, are roundish, ovate-cordate, 2 to 3 inches long, and about 1 1/4 inch broad, entire or three to five lobed, irregularly toothed at the margin, and thick. They are soft and velvety on both sides, due to a dense covering of stellate hairs. The flowers are shaped like those of the common Mallow, but are smaller and of a pale colour, and are either axillary, or in panicles, more often the latter. The stamens are united into a tube, the anthers, kidney-shaped and one-celled. The flowers are in bloom during August and September, and are followed, as in other species of this order, by the flat, round fruit called popularly 'cheeses.' The common Mallow is frequently called by country people, 'Marsh Mallow,' but the true Marsh Mallow is distinguished from all the other Mallows growing in Britain, by the numerous divisions of the outer calyx (six to nine cleft), by the hoary down which thickly clothes the stems, and foliage, and by the numerous panicles of blush-coloured flowers, paler than the Common Mallow. The roots are perennial, thick, long and tapering, very tough and pliant, whitishyellow outside, white and fibrous within. The whole plant, particularly the root, abounds with a mild mucilage, which is emollient to a much greater degree than the common Mallow. The generic name, Althaea, is derived from the Greek, altho (to cure), from its healing properties. The name of the order, Malvaceae, is derived from the Greek, malake (soft), from the special qualities of the Mallows in softening and healing. Most of the Mallows have been used as food, and are mentioned by early classic writers in this connexion. Mallow was an esculent vegetable among the Romans, a dish of Marsh Mallow was one of their delicacies. The Chinese use some sort of Mallow in their food, and Prosper Alpinus stated (in 1592) that a plant of the Mallow kind was eaten by the Egyptians. Many of the poorer inhabitants of Syria, especially the Fellahs, Greeks and Armenians, subsist for weeks on herbs, of which Marsh Mallow is one of the most common. When boiled first and fried with onions and butter, the roots are said to form a palatable dish, and in times of scarcity consequent upon the failure of the crops, this plant, which fortunately grows there in great abundance, is much collected for food. In Job XXX. 4 we read of Mallow being eaten in time of famine, but it is doubtful whether this was really a true mallow. Canon Tristram thinks it was some saline plant; perhaps the Orache, or Sea-Purslane. Horace and Martial mention the laxative properties of the Marsh Mallow leaves and root, and Virgil tells us of the fondness of goats for the foliage of the Mallow. Dioscorides extols it as a remedy, and in ancient days it was not only valued as a medicine, but was used, especially the Musk Mallow, to decorate the graves of friends. Pliny said: 'Whosoever shall take a spoonful of the Mallows shall that day be free from all diseases that may come to him.' All Mallows contain abundant mucilage, and the Arab physicians in early times used the leaves as a poultice to suppress inflammation. Preparations of Marsh Mallow, on account of their soothing qualities, are still much used by country people for inflammation, outwardly and inwardly, and are used for lozenge-making. French druggists and English sweetmeat-makers prepare a confectionary paste (Pâét‚ de Guimauve) from the roots of Marsh Mallow, which is emollient and soothing to a sore chest, and valuable in coughs and hoarseness. The 'Marsh Mallows' usually sold by confectioners here are a mixture of flour, gum, egg-albumin, etc., and contain no mallow. In France, the young tops and tender leaves of Marsh Mallow are eaten uncooked, in spring salads, for their property in stimulating the kidneys, a syrup being made from the roots for the same purpose.
from here  
when I was first diagnosed with asthma many years ago, the doctors gave me medicines that were way too strong, so I did an herb study and marsh mallow is one I used. However, I encountered a new doctor that said my asthma was not in control and put me back on regular medicines. but I do remember this one seemed to help me Never experiment without talking with your doctor first.
below is an excerpt from the above site:
Both the root and the leaf of the marshmallow plant contain a substance known as mucilate, a mucusy substance that does not dissolve in water. It is this substance that causes marshmallow to swell up and become slippery when wet. This attribute of the marshmallow plant gives it the ability to soothe irritation of the mouth, throat and stomach, as well as to relieve coughing.

Marshmallow is also believed to have a limited ability to fight infection and boost the immune system.

While the effectiveness of marshmallow has not been substantiated by human pharmalogical studies, it has been used in connection with:

  • Asthma
  • Common cold/sore throat
  • Cough
  • Crohn's disease
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastritis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Indigestion
  • Pap smear (abnormal)
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Ulcerative colitis
Dosage and Administration

A recommended dose of marshmallow is 1 1/-4 teaspoons (6 grams) of the root per day. Marshmallow can be prepared as a tea to be taken 5 times a day. Herbal extracts in capsule and tablet form providing 5-6 grams of marshmallow per day can also be used, or it may be taken as a tincture-1-3 teaspoons (5-15 ml) three times daily.

from here:

Tea, low-alcohol tincture, fresh or dried chopped root.
remedy Remedies using Mallow, Marsh
PropertiesHealth Benefits **Antibacterial *,Soothes irritated body tissues *,Anti-inflammatory *,Lowers blood sugar *,Emollient *,Eases breathing *,
Health Uses, Treatments and Remedies
Bladder Infection (UTI) Cystitis
The great demulcent and emollient properties of Marsh Mallow make it useful in inflammation and irritation of the urinary and respiratory organs. [11]

Bronchitis Burns/SunBurn Diabetes Most of the therapeutic ability comes from the large concentration of mucilage and pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber that keeps the gastrointestinal system running smoothly and helps tame blood sugar. [27] Pet care 1/4 teaspoon of marshmallow tea is good for lubricating and expelling fur balls in cats. You can also give 1/4 teaspoon of bran, psyllium, or ground flaxseed to provide fiber and lubricating mucilage to help remove hair balls. Sore Throat/Laryngitis The spongy, gummy mucilage in Mallow soothes and protects inflamed mucous membranes in the throat, stomach, intestines and urinary tract. [27] The high concentration of mucilage and pectin in marshmallow might interfer with medications, if taken at the same time

and a little more information

Parts Used

The leaves and roots of marshmallow are the parts used for medicinal purposes.

Medicinal Uses and Indications

Professional herbalists may recommend marshmallow for the following health problems based on its long history of use in traditional healing systems, as well as results of laboratory and animal studies.
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Common cold/sore throat
  • Cough
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Weight loss aid (marshmallow swells with fluid and gives a sense of fullness)
  • Wound healing

Available Forms

Dried leaves may be used in infusions, fluid extracts, and tinctures. Marshmallow roots are available dried, peeled, or unpeeled in extracts (dry and fluid), tinctures, capsules, ointments/creams, and cough syrups.

How to Take It

Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 to 25 kg), the appropriate dose of marshmallow for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.
The following are the recommended adult doses for marshmallow:
  • Leaf infusion: 1 to 2 tsp in 5 ounces boiled water, two to three times daily
  • Leaf fluid extract: ¼ to ½ tsp (1:1 g/mL), two to three times daily
  • Leaf tincture: 1 to 2 tsp (1:5 in 25% ethanol), two to three times daily
  • Root infusion or cold-water maceration (2% to 5%): 5 ounces (1 to 2 tsp) taken to soothe cough and sore throat
  • Dried root: 2 to 6 g or equivalent preparations daily (cold infusion three times per day)
  • Marshmallow cough syrup (from root): 2 to 10 g per single dose (syrup contains sugar, so people with diabetes should use with caution)
  • Root topical preparations: 5% to 10% drug in ointment or cream base


The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.
There are no reported side effects of marshmallow, and it appears to be safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Possible Interactions

Marshmallow may interfere with the absorption of certain medications. For this reason, it is important to take marshmallow several hours before or after ingesting other herbs or medications.


The sweet confection known as �marshmallow� is related to the plant through history. In 2000 BCE, ancient Egyptians reportedly made a candy of marshmallow root and honey, which was reserved for gods and royalty.14 In the more recent past (circa mid-17th century CE), French druggists made a meringue of marshmallow root extract, egg white, and sugar called P�t� de Guimauve to treat chest complaints.10 By the late 19th century, marshmallow confections were easily available to the public, mass-produced, and no longer contained marshmallow extract.14

In the United States, marshmallow leaves and roots are used as components of herbal teas, dietary supplement products, and topical demulcent preparations.11 Marshmallow flower and root, and extracts thereof, are also classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) natural flavoring substances when used in the minimum quantity required to produce this intended effect.20
above and more information here


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