Marshmallow is an antibacterial and membrane protective vegetable for gastric and other ulcers

Health Science and Practical Remedies

Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) is a Malvaceae family plant and native to Africa with wide medicinal uses. Mallow plants have also been used as food in Middle East countries, boiled tender aerial parts first and fried with onions and butter. The flowers and young leaves are often added to salads.

All parts of marshmallow can be used medicinally. In traditional Chinese medicine, marshmallow (藥蜀葵) is claimed to increase the flow of breast milk. Due to its outstanding anti-microbial properties, marshmallow has been using as a gargle for mouth, throat and gastric ulcers.

Pharmacological effects of Marshmallow:
  1. Many experimental results showed that marshmallow extracts have strong anti-bacterial activity.
  2. Marshmallow flower extract has beneficial effects for hyperlipidemia, gastric ulcers and platelet aggregation.
  3. Marshmallow root rhamnogalacturonan possess dose-dependent suppression effect on cough and airway smooth muscle, comparable with opioid codeine. The cough suppression effect is associated with the serotonergic 5-HT(2) receptor's function.
  4. Marshmallow root polysaccharides are effective epithelial cell stimulator and for the treatment of irritated mucous membranes within tissue regeneration.
Phytochemistry of marshmallow:
Marshmallow contains altheahexacosanyl lactone (n-hexacos-2-enyl-1,5-olide), 2β-hydroxycalamene (altheacalamene) and altheacoumarin glucoside (5,6-dihydroxycoumarin-5-dodecanoate-6β-D-glucopyranoside), along with the known phytoconstituents lauric acid, β-sitosterol and lanosterol.

Int J Biol Macromol. 2009 Jul 1;45(1):27-32
Bratisl Lek Listy. 2011;112(12):670-5.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Jan 8;127(1):62-9
Pharm Biol. 2011 Mar;49(3):327-33
Natural Product Research 24 (14): 1358–1364

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