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Chill with Marshmallow: Your Cold Infusion Guide

One of the most generally supportive herbs available to us, Marshmallow is a powerful yet gentle medicinal herb that is good for our entire bodies. With a soothing, softening and moistening demeanor, this herb is good for cooling off hot, dry and inflamed conditions.



Dried Marshmallow root in a mug

Dried Marshmallow root in a mug


How Marshmallow Supports our Bodies

While Althaea is supportive of the entire body, they have a particular affinity for the digestive system. Being soothing, this herb counters excess stomach acid and can help with peptic ulcers and gastritis. It can calm the effects of Crohn’s and Colitis but it won’t cure these diseases and it is always important to address the root cause of an issue and heal it holistically. 


Culpeper wrote extensively about this herb in his herbal - he even claims it helped heal his son’s dysentery. Marshmallow is also good for diarrhea and hemorrhages. As herbs often help with opposite issues, Althaea is an incredible ally for those who experience constipation. It is mildly laxative and also counters the dryness and tension often associated with having difficulty pooping.


Another system for which Marshmallow has a particular affinity is the respiratory system. This herb can believe coughs and asthma and is soothing for a wide variety of respiratory issues. The root is a great mouthwash to bring down inflammation.


Helping to relieve heat and inflammation in the lungs, mouth and throat, this herb is good for most hot and dry conditions. Marshmallow is also an incredible ally for smokers and former smokers, especially those who have overheated membranes.


Externally, Marshmallow is demulcent and vulnerary which makes them very healing and supportive of our skin. The root is good for varicose veins, ulcers, abscesses, burns and boils. The flowers help to soothe inflamed skin. 


As an emollient, this herb softens and breaks up hard tissue which can help with scarring. Marshmallow can also prevent the formation of pus and helps with Eczema and Psoriasis. This herb is also lubricating and can relieve stiff joints and muscles.


Marshmallow topically will bring down swelling and reduce pain. It can also help with rough skin, dandruff and dry scabs. Bruising the leaves can make a great remedy for eye inflammation as well as bug bites and stings.


Althaea is also an incredible ally for our urinary system and can help with cystitis, calm frequent urination and aid with difficult and painful urination. Marshmallow is the most diuretic of the mucilages and has a specific relationship with the kidneys. 


Being diuretic means that Marshmallow’s powers are directed towards the urinary system when we ingest this herb. They can help with kidney stone pain and can also soothe the kidneys and bladder and encourage our bodies to remove waste through urination.


Chopped and dried Marshmallow root

Chopped and dried Marshmallow root


As a soothing and moistening herb, Marshmallow is also good internally and externally for vaginal irritation as well as sore, swollen and inflamed breasts. Culpeper also said that this herb can help promote the production of breastmilk.


Hildegard wrote that Althaea is supportive against fevers - pound this herb with vinegar and drink in the morning and at night on an empty stomach. She also taught that Marshmallow can soothe headaches when crushed with sage and olive oil, warmed and tied on the forehead for the night.



Medicine Making with Marshmallow: Cold Infusion

Extracting the mucilage from this incredible herb is not as easy as it may seem, and the mucilage is usually one of the most important constituents of this herb to make available to our bodies. It’s important to note that this process is very different from a pharmaceutical approach of extracting and separating a specific constituent from a plant, such as menthol extracts or similar approaches with other herbs. 


In herbalism, we often prioritize working with the whole plant, as there is magic and synergy that happens when a plant is able to work in a holistic way with the hundreds of constituents that they have developed for their own healing purposes.

A picture of Marshmallow flowers and leaves

A picture of Marshmallow flowers and leaves


With Althaea, an overnight cold infusion is typically the best way to successfully extract mucilage from the herb. I like to order powdered Marshmallow. If you buy it in bigger pieces you may want to decoct the herb for about 10 minutes before leaving it overnight to infuse. I go over how to decoct herbs in the medicine making section of this blog post here.


A note on powders - if you do keep herbal powders around, try to go through them within 6 months-1 year. The smaller the surface area of the herb, the more it is exposed to the elements and the shorter its shelf life tends to be.


Overnight Cold Infusion How-To:

  1. Measure out your herb - I like to take 1 tsp - 1 tbsp of Marshmallow per 8 oz depending on how much moistening action you are going for.

  2. Pour cool water over the herb and cover

  3. Leave overnight and enjoy in the morning - yes, it’s really that simple!


Marshmallow is not that great in tincture form because mucilage is water soluble and alcohol can do weird things with mucilage… weird blobs gone wrong anyone?


Herbal Apprentice Program

If you want to learn more incredible herbal remedies and the magic of plants, Artemisia Academy's Herbal Apprentice Program may be perfect for you. This 150-hour program is hands-on, interactive, and will give you the skills and knowledge you need to form deep and healing relationships with the herbal allies all around us.


Sources Used


About the Author

A headshot of the author, Alicia Cielle Heiser

Alicia Cielle Heiser is an Astrologer, Herbalist and student at Artemisia Academy. Her work centers on facilitating a greater understanding of the cyclical nature of the world and the ways that we as humans fit within the greater whole. She is writing a series of materia medica blog posts for Artemisia to make the wisdom and knowledge of herbal medicine more available to more people. Alicia also has a podcast called Conversations with the Planets and she offers herbal astrology readings and crafts personalized herbal tea blends. You can find her at www.aliciacielle.com. 

 

Disclaimer: Information presented on this webpage is for educational purposes only, and does not include the diagnosis and treatment of disease nor replace the advice of a licensed physician. Please refer to a licensed health professional for any illness or persistent symptoms before using herbal remedies.


Herbs can sometimes cause discomfort or side effects, and may interact adversely with pharmaceutical medications. Do not use herbs internally without the approval of a doctor or medical professional if you are currently on medications or have a history of medical conditions.

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