Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) is a primarily perennial herb, native to Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, found all over the world. The botanical name for the marshmallow root is Althaea officinalis L., and it comes under the Malvaceae family's classification.
It is a herbaceous perennial that can grow up to 2 metres tall, with pink flowers, and every part of it is covered with velvety hairs that are soft and dense.
The plant has a history of more than 2000 years of traditional medicinal use throughout Europe as a folk remedy to alleviate digestive, respiratory and skin disorders. Its therapeutic effect is attributed, in part, to the presence of mucilage. Typically, it is ingested via capsules, tinctures or tea, and also employed in skin preparations and cough syrups.
Marshmallow root is a useful remedy for coughs and colds. The plant's roots, leaves, and flowers contain antitussive properties that have been used for centuries worldwide, particularly for colds and coughs. Additionally, they possess emollient and antiseptic qualities that provide relief for gastric, renal, and urological discomfort. Marshmallow root-infused lozenges are a reliable remedy to soothe dry cough and sore throat.
It is suggested that the sedative effect of marshmallow could alleviate internal irritation and inflammation in the urinary tract. Moreover, its antibacterial properties may provide benefits in treating urinary tract infections.
The anti-inflammatory properties of marshmallow root assist in reducing skin irritation associated with illnesses like furunculosis, eczema, and dermatitis. Moreover, the root exhibits antibacterial activity that boosts wound healing. Although there is a belief that marshmallow root quickens the healing process and diminishes inflammation, further studies are imperative to verify these assertions.
Marshmallow root additionally has skin-enhancing benefits when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, attributed to its
antioxidants that protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.