Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis L.)

background

Both marshmallow leaf and root are used in commercial products. Herbal formulas are made from either the dried root or leaf (unpeeled or peeled). The actual content of the commercial product depends on the time of collection.
There is a lack of evidence to support the use of marshmallow alone for any condition. The medical uses of marshmallow are supported by traditional use and early research. Limited human evidence is available on the effectiveness of marshmallow-containing products for skin conditions.
Marshmallow may affect the way the body absorbs some medications taken by mouth. Marshmallow should be consumed several hours before or after other medicinal agents.
Marshmallow is generally considered safe. However, allergic reactions or low blood sugar have been reported.

Related Terms

2-O-alpha-D-galacturonopyranosyl-l-rhamnose, acidic polysaccharide, Althea, althea leaf, Althaea officinalis L., Althaea officinalis L. var robusta, althaea radix, althea root, Althaeae folium, althaeae radi, Altheia, amines, Apothekerstockmalve (German), arabinans, arabinogalactans, asparagines, bismalva (Italian), buonvischio (Italian), caffeic acid, calcium oxalate, cheeses, chlorgenic acid, coumarins, D-galactose, D-glucuronic acid, Eibischwurzel (German), flavanoids, galacturonorhamnans, galacuonnic acid, glucan, glucaris, glycosides, Guimauve (French), gul hatem (Turkish), Herba Malvae, hitmi (Turkish), kaempferol, kitmi (Turkish), L-rhamsose, Mallards, Malvaceae (family), malvacioni (Italian), malve, malvavisco (Spanish), marshmallow leaf, marshmallow mucilage, marshmallow root, minerals, mortification root, mucilage polysaccharides, p-coumaric acid, pectin, phenolic acid, quercetin, Racine De Guimauve, scopoletin, sterols, sweet weed, tannin, witte malve, wymote, xylose.
Combination product examples: Dexalta® (a combination of dexamethasone acetate 0.05mg, fluid extract of marshmallow 20g, Vaseline® 5g, and lanolin anhydrated 100g), Weleda Hustenelixier (ivy leaf, thyme, aniseed, marshmallow), Z-HE (a topical mixture of pure extracts from A. rosa, A. officinalis, and other Leguminosae, Fabaceae, Malvaceae, and Lythraceae species).
Note: Marshmallow is not to be confused with mallow leaf, mallow flower, or confectionery marshmallows; although confectionery marshmallows were once made from the Althaea officinalis plant, they now primarily contain sugar.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Cough (associated with blood pressure medications) (Grade: C)
Marshmallow has been studied for the treatment of coughs caused by ACE inhibitors, agents that treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions. Early research suggests that marshmallow may help prevent coughing by forming a protective coating in the lungs. However, more evidence is needed to confirm the effectiveness of marshmallow in humans.
Parasites (Grade: C)
Marshmallow may help treat infections from parasites. Marshmallow preparations have been used in combination with steroids for skin conditions. The plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory activity that increases the effect of steroids applied to the skin. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.
Skin inflammation (Grade: C)
Marshmallow extracts have been applied to the skin to treat inflammation. However, research is limited in this area. More information is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.