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  • Marshmallow

    Also indexed as:Althea officinalis
    Marshmallow: Main Image© Steven Foster
    Botanical names:
    Althea officinalis

    Parts Used & Where Grown

    The marshmallow plant thrives in wet areas and grows primarily in marshes. Originally from Europe, it now grows in the United States as well. The root and leaves are used medicinally.

    • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
    • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
    • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

    Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

    For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

    This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

    Used for AmountWhy
    Common Cold and Sore Throat

    (Elm Bark, Licorice)
    5 to 8 ounces of tea, four to six times per day, for two to seven days2 stars[2 stars]
    In one study, Throat Coat tea was effective in providing rapid, temporary relief of sore throat pain in people with acute pharyngitis.
    Asthma
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    Marshmallow, which has a soothing effect on bronchioles, has traditionally been used for asthma.
    Common Cold and Sore Throat
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    Herbs high in mucilage, such as marshmallow, are often helpful for relief of coughs and irritated throats.
    Cough
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    Marshmallow has a long history of use for treating coughs and has been shown in one study to have cough-relieving abilities.
    Crohn’s Disease
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    Marshmallow helps soothe inflamed tissues. Doctors sometimes use this herb in combination with slippery elm, cranesbill, and several other herbs to sooth the digestive tract.
    Diarrhea
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    Herbs high in mucilage, such as marshmallow, may help reduce the irritation to the walls of the intestinal tract that can occur with diarrhea.
    Gastritis
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    Marshmallow is high in mucilage, which may be advantageous for people with gastritis because its slippery nature soothes irritated mucus membranes of the digestive tract.
    Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    Mashmallow is a soothing herb traditionally used to treat reflux and heartburn.
    Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    Marshmallow is a demulcent herb, meaning it seems to work by decreasing inflammation and forming a barrier against irritants such as stomach acid.
    Peptic Ulcer
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    High-mucilage-containing herbs such as marshmallow have a long history of use for irritated or inflamed mucous membranes in the digestive system.
    Ulcerative Colitis
    Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
    Marshmallow is an anti-inflammatory and soothing herb that may be effective in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.

    Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

    Marshmallow (not to be confused with confectionery marshmallows) has long been used by herbalists to treat coughs and sore throats.1 Due to its high mucilage content, this plant is soothing to inflamed mucous membranes. Marshmallow is also used by herbalists to soothe chapped skin, chilblains (sores caused by exposure to cold), and minor wounds.

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    The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.

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