Marshmallow is a perennial herb native throughout damp areas of northern Europe and western Asia. It is now naturalized to the Atlantic coast of the United States and used as an ornamental for its pointed foliage and purple flowers. References to marshmallow leaf as a healing herb are found in Homer's Iliad, written over 2,800 years ago. Its genus name Althaea comes from the Greek altho, to cure, and its order name, Malvaceae, is derived from the Greek malake, which means soft. Marshmallow leaf was widely used in traditional Greek medicine. The use of the herb spread from Greece to Arabia and India, where it became an important herb in the Ayurvedic and Unani healing traditions. The Romans used it primarily as a roasted vegetable, and was mentioned in both Arabic and Chinese literature as a good food during times of famine.
Mucilage (arabinogalactans and galacturonorhamnan), antioxidant flavonoids 8-hydroxyluteolin and 8-b-gentiobioside, phenolic acids, tannins, and volatile oil.
The dried leaf. Reputable suppliers test the product for its ability to swell when mixed with water.
Cold macerations, warm infusions, tincture, and fluid extract. May also be taken as a capsule.