Man discovered the marshmallow plant more than 3,500 years ago and during this time he has discovered powerful medicinal effects in it : from its analgesic and anti-inflammatory power to its ability to calm coughs or heal wounds.
We discover the properties and healing effects of this plant cultivated since ancient times for its therapeutic richness.
- To discover more: The 15 best medicinal plants: uses and natural effects.
Marshmallow Plant: what it is
The Marshmallow plant (Althaea Officinalis) is also known as marshmallow, bismalva or canamera grass. It is an herb up to two meters tall with an erect whitish stem that has leaves about 10 centimeters high by 7 centimeters wide, white with a purple heart.
It is a plant of Eurasian origin that today is cultivated in various areas of Europe. It has a large root that grows over the years, and requires moist soil for its cultivation, which is why it usually grows next to lakes and reservoirs : that is why in English it is known as Malva del marsh (Marsh Mallow).
Ancient civilizations noted the enormous benefits that this plant brings to humans, especially when applied to cuts and burns as a pain reliever and healing agent. In addition, its sweet taste makes it pleasant to consume .
Over the years , knowledge of this plant has spread, which, among other properties, contains alkaloids, paraffin, lecithin, group B and C vitamins, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and sodium.
Properties of the Marshmallow plant
The most profitable part of the Marshmallow plant is the root, where most of the healing properties are concentrated thanks to the mucilage . These are a viscous substance that ensures the action of the medicinal principles.
These are the therapeutic assets of the Marshmallow plant.
action The Marshmallow plant has emollient properties (reduces inflammation in calluses and tumors) and demulcent (relieves irritation of the mucous membranes), making it a highly indicated agent for skin care and treatment of eczema. .
But its main property is, thanks to these effects, wound healing. When applied to burns, wounds such as cuts or scratches, and chafing, it effectively relieves pain and regenerates tissues .
It is also a widely used remedy against insect bites, allergic reactions and as a disinfectant for the throat, through gargles.
2. Analgesic power
Through its demulcent action, the Marshmallow plant relieves irritation of the mucous membranes. In this case, the mucilages, pectin and sucrose act as sugars that, mixed with water, form a paste that relieves pain and prevents inflammation .
In turn , this natural mixture prevents infections , preventing bacteria from surviving in the body. Marshmallow is usually applied on irritated areas or ingested orally waiting for its properties to act.
3. Against respiratory problems
The mucilages help expel mucous from the respiratory organs and calm irritation. It is a very suitable plant for respiratory problems.
In case of cough, the plant relaxes the alveoli and acts against the inflammation of the respiratory ducts, producing a notable sensation of relief in the patient. It is also a powerful expectorant. That is why it is also a good remedy for asthma.
It is also used as a natural medicine against bronchitis , for its relaxing and expectorant qualities.
4. Against urinary problems
A process similar to the one that acts in the respiratory tract is reproduced in the urinary ducts, which makes the Marshmallow plant have a powerful effect against infections in the kidneys and urinary bladder .
When nephritis (kidney infection) occurs, Marshmallow soothes pain and reduces inflammation.the mucous membranes of the kidneys. In addition, and very important in this case, this plant helps to disinfect the area.
But also when a urine infection or inflammation of the urinary bladder occurs, Marshmallow can be used to relieve pain and cleanse the area.
5. For digestive problems
Marshmallow is rich in tannins, an astringent herbaceous property, that is, it prevents and combats constipation . Also, when there is diarrhea, the mucilages act in the opposite way, helping constipation.
The digestive properties of the Marshmallow plant make it an excellent remedy in case of gastritis(reduces inflammation of the stomach mucosa), stomach ulcer, heartburn, inflammation or infection in the intestine and intoxication.
6. Marshmallow for memory
Among its many therapeutic effects, Marshmallow is recommended for memory problems. This plant contains choline, which is found in vitamin B and lecithin, and is a very useful natural remedy for the formation of neurotransmitters .
These neurotransmitters send nerve impulses to the muscles and favor their transmission for neuronal activity. This favors the functioning of the brain, and that is why it is used for memory problems, cases such as Alzheimer’s, and even therapeutically for cases of bipolarity.
Methods of preparation and other uses
Normally, the Marshmallow plant is used as an infusion, by oral intake, or by topical application through poultices . The application depends in each case on the uses and the area to be treated.
For burns, scratches and wounds, and for external inflammations, it is usually used topically applied directly to the skin . In this case, a preparation is usually made based on powdered marshmallow root mixed with water, or by boiling the roots of the plant for about 10 minutes.
In the case of internal infections, respiratory, urinary and digestive problems, or to promote brain activity, the plant is consumed orally by infusion.For disinfection, gargle with the same tea.
To do this , we bring the root of the marshmallow to a boil and at the point we lower the cooking and keep the root boiling for 10 minutes. Then we remove it from the heat and let it rest for another 10 minutes. We strain it and it is ready to consume. A maximum of three cups a day is recommended.
Another way to prepare the infusion, indicated for respiratory problems such as cough, is by boiling the dried leaves of the Marshmallow.
But you can also prepare the Marshmallow as a syrup. We have to macerate the root for a day. In a liter of natural mineral water we can put an ounce of Marshmallow root and, after straining it, add 150 grams of sugar and boil. When it is cold we store it in a glass bottle.
Contraindications and toxicity
One of the things to keep in mind when ingesting Marshmallow is that it can interfere with the action of other medications, which is why you must always take the infusions into account a few hours before ordinary medication .
Beyond that, there have been no reported cases of toxicity from this plant, despite the fact that more than three daily cups of its infusion are not recommended. People with sugar problems and diabetesThey must be very careful, due to the high concentration of sugars in this plant.