Marshmallow Root or Althea Root
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Marshmallow Root, Althea Root MARSHMALLOW ROOT
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Botanical:  Althaea officinalis
Family:  Malvaceae (mallow/hibiscus)
Other common names:  Althea Root, Mortification Root, Sweet Weed, Wymote, Mallards, Hock Herb, Schloss Tea, Marsh Mallow

Troubled by asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory problems?   Marshmallow Root, with its high mucilage content, makes it a soothing and effective respiratory system supplement.  As such, it aids the body in expelling excess fluid and mucus and will soothe the mucous membranes and a dry, hacking cough.  The herb is an old time remedy for managing bladder infection, digestive upsets, fluid retention, intestinal disorders, kidney problems, sinusitis and sore throat.  In addition, Marshmallow is a fine natural source of beta-carotene, amino acids, minerals and vitamins and is often used as a filler in the compounding of pills.  Marshmallow Soothes!

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
Marshmallow Root is a rich source of healing mucilage, and its botanical name, Althaea, is derived from the Greek, althe, which means "to cure."  The use of Marshmallow originated in traditional Greek medicine and later spread to Arabian and Indian Ayurvedic medicine.  Long used as a healing and soothing herb, Marshmallow was eaten by the Egyptians and Syrians and also mentioned by Pythagoras, Plato and Virgil.  The plant was enjoyed as a highly nutritious food by the Romans in barley soup and in a stuffing for suckling pig, while classical herbalists praised its gentle laxative properties.  It was used in Persia to reduce inflammation in teething babies, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne (A.D. 800-814) insisted that it be planted throughout his kingdom.  In the nineteenth century, some doctors made a meringue from the plant's root juices, egg whites and sugar that hardened into a medicinal candy that was used to soothe children's sore throats.  Marshmallow Root is a hardy perennial that is native to Europe and is also found in the western part of the United States, thriving along riverbanks and in waste places and roadsides in wet, marshy areas.  The plant bears hibiscus-like blossoms of light red to white or purple in color and may grow to a height of four to six feet.  All parts of the plant are used in various ways, i.e., medicinal, decorative, culinary, and cosmetic purposes and is often used as a filler in the compounding of pills; but the root is mainly used for medicinal purposes.  Marshmallow Root is rich in mucilage, polysaccharides, flavonoids (quercetin), kaempferol, amino acids, betaine, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, p-coumaric acid, salicylic acid, scopoletin, sorbitol, vanillic acid, asparagine, tannins, lecithin, paraffin, pectin, acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, B-vitamins, beta-carotene and vitamin C.

Beneficial Uses:
Marshmallow Root's particular excellence involves soothing irritated tissue, and it helps to relieve various forms of inflammation, especially of the mucous membranes, since it is rich in mucilage, which is very soothing to membranes.  It also aids the body in expelling excess fluid and mucus.  The herb is often used in many lung preparations and cough syrups to alleviate a dry, hacking cough, whooping cough and laryngitis.  As a cough suppressant, Marshmallow soothes the membranes, frequently inhibiting cough.  The herb is also known to be a fine expectorant, helping to loosen and expel phlegm from the lungs.

Because it contains salicylic acid (the natural forerunner of synthetic aspirin), Marshmallow has been used to relieve the pain of headaches and muscle aches; and along with its ability to expel excess fluid and mucus, it also helps to ease sore throat and sinusitis.

Marshmallow Root is an old-time remedy for gastrointestinal disorders and strengthening the digestive system, because it contains polysaccharides that form a protective layer on the stomach lining and will lower stomach acids.  Its exceptional demulcent and emollient properties make it useful for inflammation and irritation of the alimentary canal, and the herb is frequently used to soothe the intestinal tract and alleviate indigestion, ulcers, peptic ulcers, Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome( IBS) and colitis.

As a diuretic, Marshmallow Root works to promote the flow of urine and rid the body of excess fluid.  It has been used to improve kidney function, soothe the urinary tract and relieve cystitis and bladder infections. The active constituents in Marshmallow are large carbohydrate (sugar) molecules, which make up the mucilage; and this smooth, slippery substance can soothe and protect irritated mucous membranes, making it helpful in providing some minor relief for the urinary tract and kidneys.

Marshmallow helps to enhance the functioning of the immune system, since it is known to stimulate phagocytosis, the immune process in which cells called macrophages engulf and digest infectious micro-organisms that attack healthy cells and cause serious disease.

Used externally, Marshmallow Root may be used in an ointment as an emollient to soften and soothe skin and dry hands.  The mucilages form a protective layer on damaged skin and heals.  Used internally and externally, the high mucilage content will also promote rapid healing of diaper rash, skin ulcers, sunburns, psoriasis, eczema and problem skin.

Contraindications:
Currently, there are no known warnings or contraindications with the use of Marshmallow Root Herbal Supplement; however, taking Marshmallow and iron together may reduce the absorption of the iron.

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