The Benefits of a Marshmallow Root

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Most of us have eaten a few s'mores in our lifetime, and we know what it is like to sit around a campfire trying to get our marshmallow roasted just right. But most people don't know that marshmallows were originally made from a plant called the marshmallow plant. It turns out that the root of the plant, marshmallow root, is actually full of healing qualities. Not to be confused with the sugary, puffy treat, marshmallow root benefits irritated tissues. And it may help soothe things like ulcers and gastritis.

In this article, I'll share with you the top benefits of the marshmallow root. I will cover:


Let's start by clearing up the confusion on marshmallow root vs. the white, fluffy confection you see in the grocery store. Spoiler alert: when we are talking about health benefits, we are NOT talking about the sugary treat.

Not to be confused with marshmallow treats

Pile of white, round marshmallows, marshmallow confection treat.

Marshmallows as a type of candy treat have been around for thousands of years. They go by the name "marshmallow" because back in the day, they were actually made from a plant called marshmallow.

The ancient Egyptians used to make a cake out of marshmallow root, honey, and grains. And in the 1900's, companies began to make what we would now recognize as a marshmallow. In those early years, they actually used marshmallow root as an ingredient. Nowadays though, there is no real marshmallow root in marshmallows. Only puffed up, concentrated sugar.

You don't want to be consuming the kind of marshmallows you'll find in grocery stores these days. You know, the white, fluffy, sugar-loaded pillow that you'd roast over a campfire?

These marshmallows are very high in sugar and contain all sorts of forms of sugar. Not to mention other unhealthy ingredients, too. These include:

  • Corn syrup.
  • Sugar.
  • Dextrose.
  • Modified food starch.
  • Gelatin.
  • Tetrasodium pyrophosphate.

These ingredients are horrible for your body. We know that sugar is toxic and has harmful effects in the body. Corn syrup, sugar, and dextrose are almost always GMO. Modified food starch can spike your Fat Storing Hormone levels by 300%. And tetrasodium pyrophosphate is a preservative. It is a chemical you don't want to put into your body.

The white pillowy treats you buy at the grocery store are NOT healthy for you. And they are far from what I am talking about when it comes to a health remedy.

So let's take a closer look at the real marshmallow plant and root, where this common confection actually gets its name from.

Colored drawing of medicinal marshmallow plant with flowers and leaves


What is marshmallow root?

The marshmallow plant is a flowering plant. Its scientific name is Althaea officinalis. That name comes from the Greek word "altheo," which means to heal or cure.

This plant has played a role in herbal remedies for thousands of years. Both the root and leaves of the plant can be used medicinally. Today, we will be focusing on the root of the plant.

The main benefits of marshmallow root come from the mucilage it contains. Mucilage is a sticky, thick, gooey substance that the plant produces. This substance is believed to form a protective layer on the skin and lining of the digestive tract. It is this substance that really gives this remedy all of its good, healing powers.

Wooden spoon full of dried marshmallow root on white background.

The mucilage makes the root quite helpful for soothing irritated surfaces in the body. Those surfaces may be on the skin, in the throat, or in the stomach, for example.

Marshmallow root can be prepared in different ways. You might find things like tea, powder, capsules, tinctures, or creams.

This plant is full of healing qualities. But what kinds of specific conditions and symptoms is it most useful for? Let's take a look at the top marshmallow root benefits.


Top marshmallow root benefits

Marshmallow root has several healing properties.

As mentioned above, the benefits are largely due to the mucilage. That is the thick, gooey substance that can coat our body's surfaces. This helps to soothe and protect our tissues. It is particularly good for our mucous membranes.

The root is also anti-inflammatory in nature. That makes it useful for inflammatory conditions.

Some of the conditions it may benefit include:

  1. Ulcers. This root can be useful for soothing ulcers. That includes the stomach, mouth, and intestinal ulcers. It is believed to help heal and protect our inner surfaces so that these kinds of sores can improve.
  2. Irritation in the throat. Whether it is a sore throat, cough, or other irritation in the throat area, the root of the marshmallow plant can be useful. Again, this is thought to be because it can line the throat with a soothing coating.
  3. Gastritis. A condition in which the stomach is inflamed, gastritis can be very uncomfortable. The marshmallow root extract has anti-inflammatory properties and may be able to help.
  4. Inflammatory conditions. If you have inflammation in the digestive system, like in your stomach, small intestine, or large intestine, this root may be a good natural remedy.
  5. Skin problems. It may benefit things like skin irritation, eczema, or other skin symptoms.
  6. Sinus issues. Because it supports your mucous membranes, marshmallow extract may be worth a try if you have sinus problems.

Smiley face on woman’s stomach with healthy digestive system, soothe digestive tract.

Other uses of marshmallow extract include things like colon cleansing, promoting good hair, supporting the urinary tract, and more. It is widely used by many people as a home remedy for a variety of common problems.

If you have one of the conditions listed above, consider this natural option. It is easy to find, and usually doesn't produce any negative side effects. Read on to learn more about what to look for and how to try it.


Using marshmallow root

There are many ways to use marshmallow medicinally, and it comes in many different forms.

It can be found in health stores in forms like:

  • Marshmallow tea.
  • Dried marshmallow root powder.
  • Tinctures.
  • Creams for application to the skin.
  • And much more.

Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to using this remedy:

  • It may coat the stomach and interfere with the absorption of some medications. So speak with your doctor first before adding it to your routine. Most experts recommend waiting at least an hour or two after taking marshmallows to take your medications.
  • If you wish to drink it as an herbal tea, you can either find it prepared or make your own. But make sure not to use hot water. Cold infusion is best for extracting the mucilage.
  • Make sure to take it with plenty of water for the best results and fewer side effects.
  • Most people don't have any side effects with marshmallows. But just in case, you might want to watch for an upset stomach, low blood sugars, or any other unusual reactions.

Marshmallow plant leaves and root with cup of marshmallow root tea, spoon and cup on grey background.


Key takeaways

When you hear the word marshmallow, you likely think of the white, fluffy treats that get sticky and puff up when you roast them. These are quite unhealthy for your body and are loaded with bad ingredients. If you want to take care of your health, you should be avoiding them.

But these sugary temptations should not be confused with the actual marshmallow plant. It turns out that the root of that plant is actually full of healing qualities.

The marshmallow root extract is great for soothing irritated tissues. Whether that is on the skin or in the digestive tract lining, it can come to great use. This is because it contains mucilage, a sticky substance that may coat surfaces in a protective layer.

Many people find that this root helps support common issues such as:

  • Ulcers of the mouth, stomach, or intestines.
  • Irritation in the throat (such as sore throat or cough).
  • Gastritis.
  • Inflammatory conditions in the stomach or intestines.
  • Sinus problems.
  • Skin issues.

People even use marshmallow root on their hair, as a colon cleanser, and so much more.

So if you've got a dry cough, stomach issues, sinus problems, or even skin irritation, give marshmallow a try. It is easy to use and may be well worth your while.

Have you ever tried this natural remedy? Have you ever had marshmallow root tea? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section down below.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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