A small flowering plant growing in wetlands and marshy areas may not be what you think of when you hear the word ‘marshmallow’. But, the sweet and sticky delight that many of us love was originally made from the extract of marshmallow plant. Hence, the name.
The soft, velvety, small, oval or heart-shaped leaves of marshmallow plant are packed with a wide range of beneficial chemicals and have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. The name of the genus also reflects this traditional use. The genus name ‘althea’ came from the Greek word ‘althein’, which means ‘to heal’.
Chemical Composition of Marshmallow Leaf
Marshmallow leaves are a great natural source of many beneficial chemicals and nutrients. Some of its major constituents include:
- Flavonoids – quercetin, scopoletin, kaempferol,coumarin, and diosmetin glucosides
- Mucilage polysaccharides - arabinans, arabinogalactans, glucaris, and galacturonorhamnans
- Phenolic acids – caffeic acid, salicylic acid, p-coumaric, vanilic, and syringic
- Amino acids
- Vitamins A and B complex
- Minerals – calcium, iron, zinc, iodine, and sodium
A Brief History of Marshmallow Leaf’s Use
Best known for their mucilage content, marshmallow leaves have a long documented history of use by ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese, primarily as a natural remedy to soothe mucosal membranes.
Through ages, marshmallow leaf extract has been extensively used for sore throat, cough, congestion, and cold. It also helps soothe the respiratory and GI tracts.
Health Benefits of Marshmallow Leaf
Following are some of the major benefits of marshmallow leaves:
· They Help Alleviate Various Respiratory Issues
The high mucilage content of marshmallow leaves make it excellent for soothing the mucous membrane that lines the respiratory tract. They not only offer relief from irritation, but also alleviate pain and inflammation.
· They Offer Relief from GI Issues
Marshmallow leaves also work great for indigestion, heartburn, stomach ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, and inflammation of the GI tract. Regular consumption of marshmallow leaves is also known to offer relief from the pain associated with inflammatory bowel diseases.
· They Are Also Effective For Skin Issues
Marshmallow leaves have also been found to help with minor skin ulcers and infections. They are also commonly used as a poultice for small wounds and burns and insect bites. Marshmallow leaves also work great for various inflammatory skin conditions.
Marshmallow leaves contains strong anti-inflammatory, carminative, and emollient, properties and they make a potent natural remedy for the issues related to mucosal linings and the skin. Include a bottle of organic marshmallow leaf tincture in your medicinal cabinet to deal with seasonal respiratory issues and small emergencies involving minor burns and insect bites.