Herbs have been used for thousands of years to help heal and strengthen the human body. There is a growing interest in all things herbal from the medical establishment as it looks for its next wonder drug and the marshmallow plant has not been ignored in this rush. The marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, is indigenous to Africa but has spread too many European, Asian and American regions thanks to its ability to grow in moist ground making it an easy to find and obtain herb.
The leaves and root of the marshmallow plant contain a substance called mucilage. This substance has been found in many plants and can be used for a variety of things. However in medicine it is used for its demulcent properties. This means that it can be used to create a soothing layer over an injury preventing any further damage and it is edible so it can be used to cover an inflamed membrane like a throat or stomach.
As well as having mucilage it is also a natural source of amino acids. The marshmallow plant also has high levels of calcium, iron, iodine, zinc and vitamins A and B making this a plant that not only heals but also gives back some of those vitamins and minerals that are lost during an illness.
It is usually the root of the marshmallow plant that is used in modern herbal remedies but the flowers and petals can also be used if so inclined. Internally the leaf of the marshmallow can be used to treat inflammations of the digestive tract, mouth and throat. This plant also works wonders with ulcers in these places as well. The root can be used to treat problems with the urinary tract like cystitis and hiatus hernias.
Thanks to its abundant mucilage, marshmallow can be used to treat problems of the skin and other external problems where a physical covering would be beneficial. Boils, skin ulcers, burns and sores all benefit from this herb. The great thing about this herb though is that virtually no side effects have been reported with its use. It should be noted that it can cause low blood sugar with some people so if you are diabetic should check with a doctor before taking any marshmallow.
Marshmallow has been known ever since the ancient Egyptians as a healing herb. Now in this century herbalists, users of homeopathic remedies and other alternative medical users all agree that this is a great herb with plenty of healing potential. This makes it ideal for medical science to take a closer look at and this is now beginning to be done. So do not be surprised if the next big medical breakthrough comes from the marshmallow plant.