Thursday, 17 February 2011

(6) Seasonal Materia Medica Profile: Marsh mallow

Marsh mallow - Althaea officinalis

A member of the Mallow Family. The Marsh mallow flowers between July and September. It can ususally be found in damp meadows, and banks, particularly near the sea. Found in central and eastern Europe, north to Britain and Denmark, also found in Northern Asia.

Active Constituents

The active components are mucilage, sugar, pectin and essential oils, and found primarily in the leaves: flavonoids, tannins and scopoletin.


Soothing demulcent, emollient, nutrient, alternative, antilithic, antitussive, vulnerary and diuretic.


Marsh mallow can be used to treat mouth and throat infections and gastric ulcers. Roots and leaves can be used as a poultice. It can also be used to treat inflammation of the alimentary canal, kidneys and bladder. Ulceration of stomach and duo-denum, hiatus hernia, catarrh of respiratory organs and stomach, dry cough, open wounds - to cleanse and heal, systitis, diarrohea, septic conditions of moderate severity. The plant supplies an abundance of mucilage for protection of mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and urinary tract in the presence of stone. A poultice or ointment is applied topically to boils, abscesses, ulcers and old wounds to draw effete matter to the surface before expulsion from the body.

A Suitable Winter Remedy

In Green Pharmacy preparations, a good winter remedy would be to create a gargle. This would help ease sore throats due to the high mucilage content in the botanical.
Leave two teaspoonfuls of dried Marsh mallow root to stand in 250ml cold water for half an hour. Drink 1-3 cups (warmed up) daily, or use as a gargle.

Potential "Admixtures"

Marsh mallow can be combined with Comfrey and Cranesbill (American) for peptic ulceration. With White Horehound, Liquorice and Coltsfoot for pulmonary disease. And with Slippery Elm to make a traditional "drawing" ointment.

  1. "Herbs and Healing Plants of Britain & Europe", Dieter Podlech
  2. "Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine", Thomas Bartram

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