Yipee! About four months later, I have finished this one. It’s my first shawl and the impetus to knit it was a failed hat
Marshmallow root is great at producing mucilage! I learned that mucilage is a carbohydrate that the body has a hard time breaking down. Is this a benefit? Yes! It helps sooth inflamed & irritated skin via direct contact. This is the definition of a demulcent herb. Demulcent for internal use, emollient for external use.
Marshmallow has an affinity for digestion, respiratory, and urinary systems. Also, it can be used topically to aid wound healing or any hot/irritated/inflamed skin as a pollutice. It’s a great addition to Yarrow or Kinnickinck to fight a UTI, as it has no astringent properties and will help with inflammation. In the digestive system, because of its vulunary and demulcent properties, it can help with ulcers, indigestion, IBS, and maybe even leaky gut. The mucilage coats gut lining to help to stop leakage, same for the stomach with ulcers and indigestion to reduce irritation. For respiratory, when you have a sore throat, again Marshmallow will help to sooth inflamed tissues and bring moisture to mucous membranes 1.
“In France, the young tops and tender leaves of Marsh Mallow are eaten uncooked, in spring salads, for their property in stimulating the kidneys, a syrup being made from the roots for the same purpose.”
p. 507, A Modern Herbal by M. Grieves
Some other interesting uses from M. Grieves was to boil the root in milk or wine, make into syrup, or a part of a tea mix remedy for colds. It does sound kind of delicious as a syrup. Some classmates also noted that they’ve used marshmallow root to help with endometriosis and arthritis/joints. I haven’t had experience with either, but it makes sense that it could aid with those conditions.
In fact, I haven’t worked with marshmallow root before, but I am looking forward to adding it to my morning herbal teas. I will mix it with Tulsi or Peppermint, for an overall aid to digestion. As a yinny person, I am always trying to improve my digestion. I have a tea thermos with a strainer that I like to use for herbal teas only. In the morning, I put all my herbs in the strainer & pour boiling water atop. I then make my 2o minute bike commute to work. When I arrive, the tea has been sitting long enough to yield a fairly strong infusion. In general, it is recommended to make a decoction for roots. A decoction is simply making a tea, but instead of pouring hot water over the herb, you will simmer the herb in hot water for 15 minutes.
HOW TO MAKE A DECOCTION
HOW TO DEHYDRATE FRESH MARSHMALLOW ROOT
HOW TO TINCTURE FRESH MARSHMALLOW ROOT
As I start to work with marshmallow, I’m sure I will become familiar with it’s specific effects on my body. For now, I’d have to say pounding the root is pretty fun and satisfying – the same reason that I enjoy making saurkraut. I also loved the smell as it dehydrated. It was both sweet and bitter in scent. I’d love to hear how you’ve worked with marshmallow and any recipes, tips, preparations you’d like to share!
Althaea officinalis L. | Marshmallow
Herbal Actions: Anti-inflammatory, Demulcent, Diuretic, Emollient, Expectorant, Vulenary