Marsh MallowIn traditional medicine marsh mallow flowers have been used in Europe for over 2000 years. Marshmallow (Althaea Officinalis) comes from the Greek word "altho" which means to cure.
DescriptionMarsh mallow, known as "common marshmallow" or "marsh-mallow" because of its round fruits, grows in populated areas (near hedges, sides of the road and in gardens).
Marshmallow is a creeper with dentate leaves and small flowers of violet-pinkish color. The flowers, leaves and stems are harvested from June to September. It is advisable for the plant to be consumed fresh, because when it dries it loses a part of its mucilaginous properties.
ProprietiesBecause it contains active substances such as uronic acid, ammonia, saccharides, asparagines pectin, betaine, tanine, and resinous substances, marshmallow is externally used in treating laryngitis, dry facial skin, tonsillitis or leucorrhea; internally it is efficient against cough, bronchitis, kidney problems or digestive afflictions. Because of its mucilaginous properties, marshmallow also has emollient effects.
TreatmentFrom marshmallow only the leaves, flowers and roots are used for curative purposes. These are harvested between the months of March through November.
In cases of inflammations of mucous membranes, gastritis, and gastro-intestinal inflammations it is recommended for marshmallow to be used under the forms of tea or soup made out of marshmallow leaves mixed with barley. After the barley is boiled and after it has cooled down, marshmallow leaves are added.
Marshmallow is used for bronchitis, cough, hoarseness and tonsillitis. For treating these illnesses a tea is prepared from marshmallow which is left over night in cold water. The mixture is then consumed in 2-3 cups a day. It has alleviating effects even in cases of emphysema, an illness considered incurable which causes serious breathing disorders. In this case minimum 3 cups of tea are consumed daily, and the crushed leaves and flowers are sieved and placed as poultices on the chest.
A decoct is used in cases of laryngitis and tracheitis as gargle, eye poultices and vaginal washings. Boiled marshmallow flowers are used as emollient poultices for calming furunculous. It is associated with horse gowan and poppy and used for gargling and dental abscesses used for enemas is effective against hemorrhoids.
Eye poultices are made from warm marshmallow tea and are especially effective.
For dry or wrinkly facial skin, poultices are used and kept on the face for about 10 to 15 minutes. The poultices are made from 30g of root boiled in half a liter of water which is left to sit for a half an hour and is then passed through a sieve. To obtain a cosmetic product a spoon of honey is added in a glass containing the mixture. It can then be used on any type of facial skin.
Due to their dark color, marshmallow flowers are used in coloring the aromatic oil, wines and syrups.
MixturesThe tea is prepared as follows: in 1 liter of water 1 spoonful of herb is added. It is then left to macerate over the night and in the morning it is slowly heated up (30-40 degrees Celsius).
Feet and hand baths are prepared by taking 3 handfuls of herb and then left to macerate over night in cold water in a recipient of 5 liters. The next day it gets heated up and used on feet and hands. It should not last more than 20 minutes.
Poultices are obtained from what was left after the tea was made. The remaining herbs are heated up in water and then mixed with barley. The mixture is then spread on a piece of fabric and is then applied locally while hot.
Macerated mixture is obtained from a spoonful of marshmallow root added to 250 ml water at room temperature for 30 minutes. After getting passed through a sieve a bit of sodium bicarbonate is added to eliminate the risk of gastric irritations. The resulting mixture is consumed 3 - 4 times a day.
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