Marshmallow Root: Immune System Booster and So Much More

Marshmallow root is an herb used as a treatment for immune, respiratory, digestive, and skin conditions. Here’s information to help boost your overall health.

8 minute read

Last Updated June 24, 2020

Marshmallow Root: Immune System Booster and So Much More

Marshmallow root is an herb that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. This herb is a powerful natural treatment for your health, commonly used to treat immune, respiratory, digestive, and skin conditions. 

Marshmallow root comes from the marshmallow plant and is edible, along with its leaves and flowers. The medicinal and healing properties of marshmallow root come from the mucilage, a sap-like substance it produces. 

Health Benefits of Marshmallow Root

A mucilage acts like a soft fiber, swelling when it contacts water. Marshmallow root is a natural mucilage, and this quality allows it to form protective coatings around membranes. Additionally, this herb contains powerful antioxidants that support your immune system, digestion, and skin health. 

Studies report that the compounds within marshmallow root, such as antioxidants, certain amino acids, phenolic acid, tannins, and quercetin, are the reason for its healing and relief-bringing properties. These compounds help to reduce mucus and reduce swelling and inflammation in the nasal passages, airways, and digestive tract.

These compounds prevent oxidative damage, which increases your risk of chronic disease, inflammatory disorders, and cancerous tumor growth. The combined efforts of these plant compounds allow marshmallow root to bring relief and speed healing by enhancing your immune system.

Support Your Immune System

Marshmallow root was traditionally used to treat the common cold, sore throat, and coughs. More recent studies have identified its benefits for respiratory health, so it is used more widely now for reducing symptoms of several respiratory conditions. 

Although used as a syrup originally, marshmallow root can now be taken in supplement form to boost immunity. It is especially effective at reducing coughs associated with common colds and other respiratory conditions like bronchitis. Additionally, marshmallow root acts as an enzyme to loosen mucus, which reduces coughing and clears airways.

The flavonoid antioxidants in marshmallow root help to reduce oxidative stress and protect your body from invading pathogens. These compounds also moderate the inflammatory response of your immune system. Inflammation is triggered as part of the immune response to pathogens, but the flavonoids help your body dismiss this to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with inflammation. 

The amino acid, asparagine, is also high in marshmallow root. This essential amino acid is necessary for mounting an efficient immune response to infections. Asparagine enhances the functions and activities of lymphocytes that work to destroy pathogens. 

Antimicrobial Effects

Studies have identified that marshmallow root possesses antimicrobial properties. In studies on respiratory infections, it was discovered that marshmallow root inhibited bacterial activity. Specifically, it has shown to prevent the damaging effects of several bacterial strains that have been resistant to medications.

The compounds below are found in marshmallow root and are proven to provide essential antimicrobial functions that boost your immunity.

♦ Tannins are powerful antiviral agents that work to protect your body against viruses. They have the ability to inactivate viruses such as influenza and herpes simplex. 

♦ Phenolic acids and polyphenols are known to behave as antibacterial agents against pathogenic bacteria. 

♦ Quercetin is a plant compound in marshmallow root that is proven to fight viral infections and inflammation, as well as treating chronic infections.

Additional Benefits of Marshmallow Root

The antioxidant properties, high fiber content, and numerous plant compounds in marshmallow root provide benefits to your whole body. Beyond a stronger immune system, marshmallow root can boost your overall health and well-being.

Skin Health: The antioxidant properties of marshmallow root provide protection for the skin. This not only helps strengthen the protection your skin provides against bacteria, but it also protects your skin from oxidative damage. UV exposure causes oxidative damage to your skin that can lead to premature aging and skin conditions. Marshmallow root is commonly applied topically to the skin as an ointment, but when taken daily as a supplement, you will get the same benefits. 

Natural body cleanser: Studies have found that marshmallow root has diuretic characteristics. This means it has the ability to flush excess fluid from your body to cleanse your kidney and bladder. This supports urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection and inflammation along the urinary tract. 

Digestive Aid: Marshmallow root contains fiber, which promotes healthy digestion. In addition to this, it possesses anti-ulcer activity, specifically treating gastric ulcers. Ulcers are common with chronic digestive disorders, as is inflammation and damage to the gut lining. Marshmallow root has also been found to treat irritated mucosal membranes in the gut wall. The protective coating from the mucilage soothes the gut while also allowing membranes to heal from leaky gut damage. 

How to Take Marshmallow Root

The amount of marshmallow root you should take depends on several factors. Your age, overall health, conditions, and medications taken are all important. There is no standard recommendation for the dosage you should take, but 100 milligrams per day is considered to be safe and beneficial. Most manufacturers recommend taking marshmallow root for four weeks at a time, with a one-week break before resuming the supplement

Marshmallow root was traditionally taken as a tea, but you can now take it as a natural supplement to boost your health. You only want to get supplements from a reputable brand that uses clinically proven ingredients. 

It is also advised to take marshmallow root according to manufacturer guidelines and your doctor’s recommendations. It needs to be taken with a full glass of water to produce truly effective results. This also is known to reduce the risk of any potential side effects.

Side Effects and Warnings

Marshmallow root is considered safe for consumption and is not likely to cause side effects when taken properly. As part of a quality supplement, marshmallow root is generally well tolerated. Some people may be allergic to the herb, and it can cause an upset stomach in some people. 

Although rare, there are medications that can interact with marshmallow root, so consult your doctor before starting a supplement. Marshmallow root has been known to interact with lithium by inhibiting the way your body eliminates this drug. This could lead to excess levels of lithium in your system.

It has been found to interact with diabetes medications. Carefully monitor your blood glucose levels to prevent them from getting dangerously low. Marshmallow root has also been linked to an increased risk of bleeding. It can slow blood clotting, which can cause excessive bleeding or interfere with healing after surgery. You should also avoid use if pregnant.

The Bottom Line

Marshmallow root has been used for its healing properties for centuries. It is safe for consumption when taken properly and proven to relieve symptoms of respiratory issues. It also protects your health in several ways from the inside out. 

Full of powerful plant compounds, marshmallow root is an effective natural treatment option you don’t want to miss out on. This herb may have lent its name to the sweet candy we all love, but nothing is sweeter than the health benefits you get from marshmallow root. 

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