Uses of Marshmallow Root Extract

Marshmallow, or Althea officinalis, is a plant that’s used in herbal medicine to treat digestive and respiratory problems as well as certain skin inflammations. Marshmallow herbs have been used for thousands of years as a medicinal remedy and a food. The leaves and roots of marshmallow plants are used in medicinal preparations. The roots are typically found in the form of dry or fluid extracts, but they’re also available in ointments or creams, cough syrups, tinctures, capsules and peeled or unpeeled dried whole root.

Treating Respiratory Conditions

Marshmallow may help to treat a wide range of respiratory conditions, from the common cold or sore throat to asthma or bronchitis. Marshmallow root contains mucilage, a gummy substance that creates a gel when combined with water, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. This mucilage gel helps soothe inflamed mucous membranes, explains the University of Michigan Health System.

Relieving Gastrointestinal Irritations

The mucilage contained in marshmallow herbs may also help to relieve such gastrointestinal irritations as diarrhea and indigestion. Herbs that are high in mucilage like marshmallow “may help reduce the irritation to the walls of the intestinal tract that can occur with diarrhea,” says the University of Michigan Health System. Marshmallow acts as a demulcent, or a soothing herb, on the digestive tract to ease indigestion. To treat diarrhea and indigestion, the University of Michigan recommends taking 1,000 milligrams of marshmallow root extract three times daily.

Treating Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Taking marshmallow root extract may relieve the symptoms associated with certain inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Marshmallow root can also help to treat gastritis and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, as well as peptic ulcers, adds the University of Michigan Health System. Marshmallow’s demulcent action and high mucilage content helps to soothe irritate mucous membranes in the digestive tract and treat mild inflammation of the gastric mucosa, the University of Michigan explains.

Easing Skin Inflammation

When applied topically, marshmallow root extract can help to soothe chapped skin and reduce skin inflammation, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. To treat skin inflammations, the University of Maryland recommends using a topical product containing 5 to 10 percent marshmallow root extract in the ointment or cream base.

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Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.