A genus of around 12 species of perennial herbs which are native to Europe and Asia, althaea, has Althaea officinalis which is also known as the marshmallow plant. The name of this genus comes from the Greek name althainein, which means to heal, which is a clear determinant of the important medicinal properties of this plant.
The flowers of this plant are often added to salads and are used in many culinary preparations, and its roots and stems are used in different cosmetics.
Some of the most common uses of marshmallow are listed down below.
- The extracts of marshmallow leaf and root are applied directly to the skin to act as a natural treatment for ulcers, wounds, burns and skin inflammation. Skin infections and abscesses can be treated by topical application of marshmallow extracts.
- Marshmallow extracts are also to deal with pain, swelling and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract.
- It is also believed that the extracts of marshmallow could be useful in the treatment of diarrhea, stomach ulcers, bloating, indigestion, constipation and other gastrointestinal conditions.
- Some studies have also found that marshmallow extracts could be useful in dealing with urinary tract infections and development of stones in the urinary tract.
- Marshmallow root extracts are often used in many skin ointments to deal with swelling, itching and pain of the hand and feet due to exposure to cold.
- Marshmallow extracts form a protective layer on the skin, which also contains chemicals that speed up wound healing.
- The extracts of marshmallow leaf are also applied topically as a poultice for insect bites.
- The ancient Egyptians used the extracts of marshmallow plant to cure sore throats, and the emulsifying properties of this herb are popular even today.
- In the middle east, the extracts of marshmallow are used to clean Persian carpets, and it is often regarded as the best method to preserve the vibrancy of the vegetable dyes used to color different materials.