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Marsh Mallow 

 

Scientific Names

Althaea officinalis L.

Malvaceae

Mallow family

Common Names

Althea  

Mallards  

Marshmallow  

Mortification root  

Schloss tea  

Sweet weed

 

Parts Usually Used 

Dried root, dried leaves and dried flowers.

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

A densely velvety, gray-white perennial plant over 5 feet tall, with erect leafy stems and a thick taproot. The lower, 5-lobed, leaves are long-stalked and lobed, heart-shaped, upper ones folded like a fan. The pale pink (or mauvish) or white flowers grow on small clusters in leaf axils of upper leaves; they have velvety sepals, appear at the height of summer. Fruits are brown-green, downy nutlets. Grown in full sun. Not heat tolerant.

Not to be confused with High Mallow (M. sylvestris L.) or Common Mallow (M. neglecta Wallr).

Medicinal Properties

Tonic, nutritive, alterative, diuretic, demulcent, emollient, mucilaginous, vulnerary (heals wounds), laxative, inflammatory; flowers are expectorant

Biochemical Information

Starch, mucilage, pectin, oil, sugar, asparagin. tannin, polysaccharides, flavonoids, the leaves have salicylic and other phenolic acids.

Legends, Myths and Stories

Taking its botanical name from a Greek word, altho, meaning “to heal”, marshmallow has been used since Ancient Egyptian times. The root, rich in sugars, is very mucilaginous and softening for the tissues. The leaves are not as mucilaginous as the root and are used as an expectorant and as a soothing remedy for the urinary system. Both the leaves and the root have been used as a vegetable. All members of the mallow family have similar properties, with varieties such as garden hollyhocks and common mallows occasionally used medicinally. King Charlemagne (AD 742-814) insisted that marsh mallow be planted throughout his kingdom to ensure an abundant supply. About 800 years after Charlemagne’s death, Culpeper wrote that his son suffered from a disease called the “bloody flux” which the College of Physicians back then called the plague in the guts. Culpeper treated his son by giving him “mallow bruised and boiled both in milk and drink.” Two days later, his son was cured.

Uses

Used to treat wasting diseases, tuberculosis, diabetes, cough, pleurisy, dryness and inflammation of the lungs, bronchitis, gangrene, septicemia, ulcers, enteritis, colitis, pain of kidney stones, difficult or painful urination, diarrhea, dysentery, conjunctivitis, rheumatism, gravel in kidneys, blood in the urine, stool, or nose; and vomiting or spitting of blood. Also used as a gargle for sore throats, coughs, whooping cough, laryngitis, bronchitis, mastitis, malnutrition, and sore mouths, externally as a poultice for burns, skin eruptions, wounds, bee stings, cuts and boils. It will also release retained afterbirth. 

 

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.