What is Marshmallow Root Extract?
At one point in your life, you have probably sat around a fire roasting some marshmallows with family and friends. But it may surprise you to know that marshmallow, its botanical name Althaea Officinalis, (x) is more than just a tasty treat. Marshmallow root has been in use for centuries to treat infections, improve digestion, and offer many other health benefits. If you’re wondering how this is, it’s essential to know that the sweet, sticky marshmallow you put on your s’mores differs significantly from the natural marshmallow root.
Marshmallow root extract is a perennial herb native to Western Asia, Europe and Northern Africa used for thousands of years as a folk remedy to treat digestive, skin and respiratory conditions. It is also sometimes present in cough syrups and skin products. The ancients also made candy from the plant that originally grew in marshes, hence its name. The Egyptians mixed honey with marshmallow and made their candy available to the gods and royalty. (x)
Based on Chinese medicine, the marshmallow herb categorizes as tonifies yin, which has ambiguous meanings. Yin deficiency means a prolonged and chronic health concern that relates to several diseases. If your body has low yin, most likely, your body’s fluids have become stagnate, you might have a dry cough, kidney problems or more. (x)
If the marshmallows you know so well today and the marshmallow root the offers health benefits for centuries are so different, why do we call them the same name? The “fluffy” quality of marshmallow root is the reason that the popular candy got its name. The marshmallow extract swells up in the body to form a soft gel-like substance, a texture we associate with the marshmallow candies as well.
What do we extract from the root that helps provide all these positive health benefits? Well, the plant’s leaves, thanks to the unique compounds present within them. The leaves can help produce teas and tinctures that may potentially provide many health benefits.
Benefits of Marshmallow Root Extract
The main reason marshmallow root extract has this healing ability is the mucilage it contains. Described below are some ways that this extract can treat several conditions:
Marshmallow root can treat skin problems such as wounds, burns, scrapes, ulcers and insect bites. It’s because of the mucilage the plant secretes, which kills bacteria. (x) For this reason, it is often an ingredient in skin ointments for clearing issues like infections and wounds.
A study performed on rats, which gave them an incision wound, were treated with marshmallow extract. The result was its great treatment of bacteria infections and speeds up the healing process. (x)
- Skin Inflammation
Marshmallow root has an anti-inflammatory effect that can help relieve skin irritation and inflammation. (x) A paper published in 2013 reported that ointments containing 20 percent marshmallow root extract reduced skin irritation because it stimulates specific cells that act as an anti-inflammatory. However, it is more effective as an ointment containing a synthetic anti-inflammatory drug than it is by itself. (x) The root and stem of the marshmallow are effective in healing skin inflammation because the plant secretes mucilage. It helps soften the skin, lower swelling and kill bacteria.
Marshmallow also helps as a topical for UVA-induced skin damage based on research supporting the fact that as a phytochemical containing root, the extract has the potential to be natural functional elements in dermatological formulas where the reduction of oxidative stress damage needs removal. The marshmallow root extract produced the most significant levels of protection from UVA-induced DNA damage. (x)
- Digestive Issues
Marshmallow root may treat many digestive issues such as constipation, heartburn, and intestinal colic. It helps coat the inside of the stomach, which prevents acid from causing discomfort in the stomach.
In 2011, the research found that marshmallow flower extract showed potential benefits in treating gastric ulcers in rats. However, more research is necessary to expand on these findings.
According to research, marshmallow root may be an effective treatment for other digestive disorders, such as leaky gut syndrome. A leaky gut syndrome results from particles leaking outside tiny openings in the gut lining, which allows them to enter the bloodstream, where they can trigger autoimmune reactions. Along similar lines, marshmallow may also help restore the lining of the gut. It’s because it can help form a protective layer around small junctions. (x) (x)
- Coughs and Colds
Because of its high mucilaginous content, marshmallow root can help treat coughs and colds. Reportedly from a 2005 study, an herbal cough syrup that contained marshmallow root was effective in relieving coughs because of colds, bronchitis or respiratory tract diseases with mucus formation. In this study, symptoms improved from 86 to 90 percent of the 62 study participants. (x)
When the marshmallow combines with other anti-inflammatories, antibacterial herbs and essential oils such as echinacea, lemon, oregano or cypress, it is very effective beating a cold or the flu. (x) These combined can be effective at targeting the bacteria that are causing the sickness and can help ease discomfort in the throat. (x)
- Bacterial Infections
Research on giving laboratory rats bacteria infections through an incision wound received marshmallow. The result helped the sores heal and ward off bacterial infections, speeding up the healing process. (x)
When taken at the onset of discomfort, marshmallow root can help speed up the healing process and kill bacteria that cause various ailments such as bronchitis, tonsillitis, urinary tract and respiratory infections. (x)
- Heart Health
In a 2011 study, researchers examined the effects of marshmallow root supplementation on blood lipid profiles and liver function for one month. The researchers reported that the marshmallow proved positive effects on acute and chronic inflammation, which just happens to be a leading cause of heart disease. (x)Research shows that the flower from the marshmallow plant may help increase the outflow of the arteries based on a laboratory test done on guinea pigs. It also noticeably dilated the blood vessels in the hind-limbs of rats. (x)
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Marshmallow Root Extract Dosage
There are several active ingredients found in marshmallow root that make it an effective medicinal supplement. These include flavonoid antioxidants, amino acids like asparagine, polysaccharides like pectin and anti-mucilaginous compounds.
The ideal serving size for marshmallow root extract is 1,200 mg (roughly 1/4 tsp). Take it once or twice daily. Like all supplements, be sure to reach out to a doctor before adding this to your regimen. If you experience extreme side effects, discontinue use immediately and see a doctor.
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Are you interested in trying marshmallow root extract supplement mentioned in this article as a possible solution to helping you with congestion, skin inflammation or bacterial infections? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
Marshmallow Side Effects
While marshmallow root is typically well-tolerated, it can cause side effects such as upset stomach and dizziness. One way to help prevent potential side effects is to start using it at a low dose and gradually work your way up to a total amount. Another way to help reduce the risk of side effects is to take it with a glass of water. You can talk with your healthcare provider, making sure you take the correct dosage of marshmallow root extract. Some noticeable side effects include:
- Low Blood Sugar
Marshmallow root may interfere with your normal blood sugar control. Therefore, be cautious if you are diabetic, pre-diabetic or taking insulin. Check with your doctor and monitor your blood sugar while using marshmallow root. (x)
- Bleeding Disorders
Marshmallow root also affects fluid retention and blood platelet formation. Stop taking marshmallow root at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery to avoid side effects related to bleeding.
When to Avoid Taking Marshmallow
You should avoid using this extract if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have diabetes, or have surgery scheduled within two weeks.
Always consult your doctor before adding a new medication or supplement to your daily routine.
The Bottom Line
Marshmallow root has been in use for centuries to treat a variety of health conditions, but most commonly skin conditions, digestive disorders and respiratory conditions. Chinese medicine involves the herb for respiratory diseases, digestive problems, skin health and more.
It’s been a favorite for most folklore medicine. Over-the-counter cough syrups and throat lozenges contain marshmallow root as their principal ingredient because it is so effective.
The “fluffy” characteristic of marshmallow root is the cause for its popularity as candy or an additive to hot chocolate. The marshmallow extract swells up in your body to form a soft gel-like substance, a texture you can associate with the marshmallow candies as well. History tells us that the Egyptians made special candies from the plant, bestowing them on royalty and gods.
The primary reason it provides this wide range of health benefits is that it is a natural “mucilage,” meaning it acts like a soft fiber that can swell to form a protective, thick coating around membranes. It comes in many forms and supplements. While most users tolerate it well, it is essential to note that some side effects may occur. Always consult your doctor before using marshmallow root as a supplement or treatment.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.