Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Althaea officinalis L.

English Name : Marshmallow, Althaea

Family : Malvaceae

Origin : Europe

A perennial herb with numerous stems springing from a large, thick, elongated, tough, fleshy yellowish-white tapering root-stock, reaching a foot in length. Leaves alternate on rather long stalks, the lower ones roundish-ovate, the upper triangular-oval. Flowers in small axillary clusters of 2 to 4 solitary, shortly stalked, forming at the end of the stem narrow leafy panicles. Seed kidney shaped, smooth, brown; embryo curved, with thin cotyledons, endosperm almost absent.

Prefers wet, salty soils within river basins of western and central Asia and Europe; also found in salt marshes in the northeastern U.S.A
Parts Used : Flowers, carpels, leaves and root

Herb Effects
Demulcent, emmolient, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, mucilaginous.

Active Ingredients
Mucilage and flavonoids, arabinogalactan, ascorbic acid, beta carotene, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, choline, erucic acid, ferulic acid, kaempferol, lecithin, quercetin, salycilic acid, scopoletin.

Medicinal Use
Inflammations of the upper respiratory tract and mouth, coughs and as a poutice for edema; less popularly used in asthma (infusion), gastrointestinal problems and in colic (with diarrhea).

Skin inflammatory conditions: Daily oral doses of 5 grams of marshmallow leaf, or 6 grams of marshmallow root have been suggested by mouth.
Oral and pharyngeal irritation: A dose of 2 grams of marshmallow in 1 cup of cold water, soaked for 2 hours then gargled has been used, but is not supported by scientific evidence.
Dried herb/root: 2-5g or by infusion/cold aqueous maceration.
Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 2-5ml.
Ointment: 5% powdered leaf/root in ointment base.
Root Syrup (BPC 1949) 2-10ml

The mucilagin in marshmallow may absorb and hence reduce the action of drugs taken at the same time.


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