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Marshmallow leaf & root

mallowAlso Known As:

Althaeae Folium, Althaeae Radi, Herba Malvae.

Scientific Name:

Althaea officinalis.

Family: Malvaceae. 

People Use This For:

Orally, marshmallow leaf and root are used for respiratory tract mucous membrane inflammation, dry cough, inflammation of the gastric mucosa, diarrhea, peptic ulcers, constipation, urinary tract inflammation. 


No concerns regarding safety when used in amounts commonly found in foods. Marshmallow root has Generally Recognized As Safe status (GRAS) for use in foods in the US.123 No concerns regarding safety when used orally in medicinal amounts.124,125 

No concerns regarding safety when used topically.124 

Pregnancy and Lactation: Insufficient reliable information available. Refer to a Medical Herbalist. 


There is insufficient scientific information available about the effectiveness of marshmallow.

Mechanism of Action:

The applicable parts of marshmallow are the leaves and the root. Marshmallow leaf and root contain mucilage sugars that can soothe and protect mucous membranes from local irritation by forming a protective layer.126,124,127,128,129,130 The mucilage can inhibit mucociliary transport,126,127,130 stimulate ingestion of breakdown products by the cell,126,130 suppress cough,126,127,131,132 increase the anti-inflammatory effects of topical steroids126,127,130 and have blood sugar lowering effect.126,124 The mucilage can also have antimicrobial, anti-spasm, antisecretory, diuretic, and wound-healing effects.124,127

Adverse Reactions:

None reported.

Interactions with Herbs & Supplements:

None known.

Interactions with Drugs:

The mucilage in marshmallow might impair absorption of oral drugs.126,132,125,133 

Interactions with Foods:

None known.


Dr Clare’s Blends: 1gm/day.

Oral: For irritation of the mouth or pharynx and associated dry cough, the typical dose of marshmallow is 2-5 grams of the dried leaf, 5 grams of the dried root, or one cup of either leaf or root tea three times daily.124 

Sprecific References: MARSHMALLOW

123. FDA. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Premarket Approval, EAFUS: A food additive database. Available at:

124. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Philpson JD. Herbal Medicine: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London, UK: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.

125. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, eds. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC 1997.

126. Monographs on the medicinal uses of plant drugs. Exeter, UK: European Scientific Co-op Phytother, 1997.

127. The Review of Natural Products by Facts and Comparisons. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Co., 1999.

128. Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. Terry C. Telger, transl. 3rd ed. Berlin, GER: Springer, 1998.

129. Martindale W. Martindale the Extra Pharmacopoeia. Pharmaceutical Press, 1999.

130. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 1998.

131. Wichtl MW. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Ed. N.M. Bisset. Stuttgart: Medpharm GmbH Scientific Publishers, 1994.

132. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. 2nd ed. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1996.

133. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. 2nd ed. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1998.

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