Marshmallow - Very Beneficial Herb for Skin Problems


Althaea officinalis Malvaceae

Found on damp ground all over Europe, the marshmallow can reach a height if 1m. The down on its stems and large leaves give the plant a velvety look, and in late summer delicate pinky white flowers appear bridly,jollowed by flat, round fruits. But the marshmallow is mainly valued for its thick, white,fibrous roots, which the Romans considered a delicacy.

Parts used

  • Roots and leaves
  • The roots are dug up in autumn, two years after planting. They are dried, then used to make infusions, powders, extracts, and syrups.
  • The leaves are sometimes picked in summer and used for infusions.


A large proportion of the root consists of mucilage. Some phenolic acids and flavonoids are also present.

Medicinal uses

Marshmallow is well known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is widely prescribed to calm dry coughs and treat other respiratory ailments, including sore throats and bronchitis. It is also very effective in soothing mouth ulcers, dental abscesses, boils, skin, acne and burns, when applied directly to the affected area on a compress.

Tests have shown that the high level of mucilage in marshmallow root is responsible for its power to reduce inflammation. Other research has confirmed the antiseptic powers of marshmallow, as well as its ability to fight infection by stimulating the immune system.

Perhaps of less importance than its medicinal powers is the recent discovery in Japan that marshmallow may have a whitening effect on the skin. This action may be of interest to the cosmetics industry, which has long incorporated the plant into moisturising creams, because of its softening and soothing properties.


For internal use

TO TREAT coughs caused by a sore throat or bronchitis INFUSION Put 2-3g dried root into 1 cup of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes and strain. Drink 2-3 cups a day. POWDER/DRY EXTRACT Take 6g a day.
ROOT LIQUID EXTRACT (1:1 in 25% alcohol) Take 2-5ml, three times a day.

For external use

TO TREAT mouth inflammation, dental abscesses, boils, acne COMPRESS Make the infusion as above. Apply on a compress to the affected area several times a day, as required.



Marshmallow can be cultivated from seeds. Plant them in spring in any type of moist soil. in a plot where they will receive plently of sunshine.


  • Marshmallow can become toxic if combined with substances such as alcohol. tannins and iron.
  • If you are taking other medicines. check with your doctor before using a marshmallow extract. as it can affect their absorption.
  • Marshmallow has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. Therefore, It may interfere with the action of other therapies or medications being used to control blood sugar levels, such as insulin for diabetes.


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