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erbal Medicine Materia Medica


© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Althaea officinalis

Part Used: Root and leaf.


In the root:
  • Mucilage, l8-35%
  • Miscellaneous; about 35% pectin, l-2% asparagine, tannins.
In the leaves:
  • Mucilage; including a low molecular weight D-glucan
  • Flavanoids such a kaempferol, quercitin and diosmetin glucosides
  • Scopoletin, a coumarin
  • Polyphenolic acids, including syringic, caffeic, salicyclic, vanillic, p-coumaric etc.
Actions: Demulcent, emmolient, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant

Indications: Its abundance of mucilage makes Marshmallow an excellent demulcent that is indicated wherever such an action is called for. The roots have been used more for the digestive system whilst the leaves are used more for the urinary system and lungs. All inflammatory conditions of the G-I tract will benefit from its use, e.g. inflammations of the mouth, gastritis, peptic ulceration, colitis etc.. The leaves help in cystitis, urethritis and urinary gravel as well as bronchitis, respiratory catarrh, irritating coughs.Externally the herb is often used in drawing ointments for abscesses andboils or as an emollient for varicose veins and ulcers.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a "soothing demulcent indicated for inflamed and irritated states of mucous membranes. Particularly suitable for the elderly with chronic inflammatory conditions effecting the gastro-intestinal system or genito-urinary tract" They give the following specific indications: acute respiratory disease, gastro-enteritis, peptic ulcer, cystitis, urethritis, inflammation of mouth & throat, inflamed hemorrhoids, inflamed wounds, burns & scalds, bedsores, abscesses, boils, ulcers.

Preparations & Dosage: 1-4 ml of the tincture three times a day. A cold infusion of the roots should be made with 2-4 gms. to a cup of cold water and left to infuse over night.

About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary......more
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