What Is Marshmallow Root? Benefits For Skin & More!

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Mmmm, nothing is as good as roasting some marshmallows over an open fire when you go camping. Or cozying up in the wintertime with some hot cocoa and mini marshmallows melting inside. Or making s’mores where the marshmallow is oh-so-gooey and the chocolate is oh-so-drippy. Marshmallows were always my favorite candy as a kid, and they still make an elegant comeback each year as part of my Thanksgiving feast. Okay, I guess there are plenty of good things in life- but let’s be real, the common denominator seems to be marshmallows. So imagine my disappointment when I discovered that marshmallow root and my favorite childhood snack are actually not so related! 

But it turns out that this root is pretty handy, with plenty of benefits for our bodies. So keep on reading to find out why the greatness of marshmallow root is right up there with that of regular ol’ marshmallows in my book!   

What Is Marshmallow Root?

Ah, the question you’ve been asking yourself: what is marshmallow root? Also known as Althaea officinalis, this root is an herb that is native to Northern Africa, Western Asia, and Europe. Its uses goes back thousands of years, with people finding that this root can help with issues such as skin, respiratory and digestive problems.

Marshmallow root comes from the marshmallow plant (if you’re picturing a Willy Wonka situation right now, you’re not alone). It looks like a brown, fibrous husk, and the flowers, leaves, and root are all edible. What makes this particular root so beneficial is its mucilage. This is a substance similar to sap which contains plenty of benefits including antioxidants. You can choose to reap the benefits of this powerful root in a variety of ways, such as in the form of tea, tincture, or a capsule. You can even use lozenges with marshmallow root extract to address certain throat issues.   

What Is Marshmallow Root Good For? Marshmallow Root Benefits

Girl laying down smiling.

Marshmallow root can help your skin.

Marshmallow root might be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to treating symptoms of the common cold or a cough. A 2005 study found that an herbal cough syrup including marshmallow root helped soothe coughs stemming from bronchitis, colds, and even respiratory tract diseases with mucus. It seems that this benefit stems from the root’s ability to act as an enzyme, loosening mucous and inhibiting bacteria. If you’re experiencing a cough, try taking 10ml a day of marshmallow root cough syrup or drinking bagged marshmallow tea to soothe your symptoms. You can also mix the powder of this root into a beverage to enjoy the benefits.

This root might also help treat skin irritation and inflammation. According to research, applying it topically might help with eczema, dermatitis and sun damage. This is due to marshmallow root’s anti-inflammatory properties, as it can stimulate cells that have anti-inflammatory activity. It’s best used in an ointment in conjunction with an anti-inflammatory synthetic drug.

Among its other capabilities is healing wounds. Marshmallow root extract can kill certain types of bacteria, thereby preventing infection. Research also indicates that it might also minimize inflammation and accelerate the healing process.   

Marshmallow Root Uses Explained

While s’mores might not be one of them, there are plenty of ways to enjoy marshmallow root. One of the most popular is, of course, the tea option, which we’ll come to soon.

When it comes to using marshmallow powder, know that it usually includes different parts of the plant but that the label must state how much of the root the powder contains. You can use the powder in juice or water in order to consume it. You can even take the extra step of mixing it with water in a container, sealing it, and letting it sit overnight. The mucilage will create a thick liquid that can soothe your throat and mouth.

Alternatively, if you want to use this root for topical application, you can opt for a skin salve. You can even make this at home by mixing cooled off marshmallow tea, or liquid marshmallow extract, with coconut oil. Then simply apply it to your skin!

DIY Marshmallow Root Tea Recipe & Guide

Tea pot on table in front of window.

Marshmallow root tea steeping in teapot.

Switch up the hot cocoa for some marshmallow tea instead. And the bonus is that with this easy DIY marshmallow root tea recipe & guide, you’ll be able to make the tea for cheap and while you’re still cozy in your pajamas.

All you’ll need to do is to pour hot water over dried marshmallow root. Then cover it and let it steep for up to 10 minutes. You can then strain it and drink it.

Alternatively, you might prefer to drink the tea cold as a refreshing treat during the summer. To make this, what you’ll need for the tea is a cup of warm water, a teaspoon of peppermint leaf, and a tablespoon of marshmallow root. Mix all of the ingredients in a mason jar and then cover it with the lid. Lightly shake it and put it in the fridge to cool off for a few hours or even overnight. Then simply strain the mixture, drink, and enjoy!

Conclusion

I bet you never expected that you could learn so much about marshmallows! It’s true, the marshmallow root that we’re talking about isn’t the same marshmallow that you loved as a kid. But the benefits are just as sweet!

There is an abundance of methods to enjoy the root in all its glory. And from its ability to soothe skin to treating coughs to helping heal wounds, it’s certainly worth checking out.

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