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Marshmallow Root

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Marshmallow Root

The marshmallow root or leaf is the member of the Mallow family and it mainly grows in the moist soils of England, Denmark and throughout the central parts of Russia, as well as in parts of the Mediterranean region. It was also found in gardens of Northern America from where it moved to the salt marshes extending from Massachusetts to Virginia. The marshmallow root is more extensively found as compared to the leaves.


The marshmallow root is very thick. It is initially long and tapering but thickens with time. The roots are perennial in nature and extremely tough and flexible. Their color is whitish yellow on the outside and they are very fibrous from within.

History and Origin

The plant is native to Europe and parts of Asia. The marshmallow root has been in use since around 200 BC under the Greek name ‘Althea’, which actually means ‘to heal’. The Roman poet, Horace, claimed that the marshmallow root had laxative properties. It has been found in England and also in North America. The famous Greek physician, Hippocrates, claimed that the marshmallow root was of great use to effectively treat wounds. In medieval times an accused person was made to hold a red-hot iron bar to prove their innocence. It was believed that first smearing the palms with marshmallow root extract would actually help the person’s hands remain unburned.

Ancient Uses

For many centuries, marshmallow root has been used to effectively heal bruises and burns. It was also applied to areas where there were muscle aches and sprains and inflammations. The marshmallow root was considered to have properties that would help boost immunity. The tea made from the roots and leaves was also used as an expectorant in treating whooping cough and bronchitis.

Modern Uses

The more modern day uses of marshmallow root include being used as a demulcent. The marshmallow root is said to soothe inflamed mucous membranes. Marshmallow root also works as an expectorant; providing relief against bronchitis and irritating coughs and sore throats. It soothes the mucous membranes. It also provides relief against constipation.

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