Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) — the herb, not the white puffy confection roasted over a campfire — has been used for centuries as both a food and a medicine. The Romans, Chinese, Egyptians, and Syrians used marshmallow as a source of food, while the Arabs made poultices from its leaves and applied them to the skin to reduce inflammation. The root and leaves contain a gummy substance called mucilage. When mixed with water, it forms a slick gel that is used to coat the throat and stomach to reduce irritation, and is applied topically to soothe chapped skin.

Most of its suggested uses come from a long history of use in traditional healing systems.

Common cold/sore throat
Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Stomach ulcers
Skin inflammation

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