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Althea officinalis  

Althea officinalis

Common name: Marshmallow

Family: Malvaceae

Parts used: Leaves & root



  • Mucilage & Polysaccharides (pectin)
  • Tannins
  • Flavonoids
  • Coumarins
  • Calcium oxalate
  • Amino acids (Asparagine)


Medicinal actions:

  • Alterative
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antimicrobial
  • Demulcent & Emollient
  • Diuretic
  • Expectorant (soothing)
  • Immunomodulator
  • Nutritive
  • Vulnerary




Medicinal use:

  • As a demulcent and diuretic in diseases involving mucous membrane irritation and catarrh such as acute dysentery, diarrhea, kidney, bladder, and respiratory inflammation. Also applied topically in the form of poultice for painful and inflammatory tumors, swellings, bruises, burns, scalds, or infections.


  • Mucilage & Polysaccharides are hypoglycemic, anti-tussive, anti-microbial, soothing & protective to mucous membranes (mouth, throat, GIT, and by reflex action the urinary and respiratory tract). Will also stimulate phagocytosis and have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects. As a form of soluble fiber has gentle bulking laxative effects and draws out toxins from the bowels.


  • Best taken as cold Infusion: 2-4 g/cup water, infuse overnight; 1 cup TID.
  • Tincture: (1:2, 25%), 3-6 ml QD.
  • Dried herb: 2-5 g QD.
  • Topically as poultice or compress.
  • As food (syrup, porridge or gruel).


  • A very safe herb and food. May cause some stomach upset in some individuals. 


  • No known contraindications.


  • Theoretically may delay the absorption of oral drugs if taken simultaneously. Take at least 2 hours away from other medications.



  • Find a complete list of references for this monograph as well as images and a review of its evidence based applications in Dr. Marciano’s Herbal Textbook.


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