Marshmallow root is valued for its soothing and protecting mucilage and is used in teas, syrups, poultices, ointments and lozenges.
To prepare as a tea, add 1-2 teaspoons of herb to 8 oz. water in a pot. Cover and simmer for 15-30 minutes, strain and serve immediately.
For a tea, an infusion is made with a teaspoon of herb to one cup of cool water. The mixture is left to infuse for an hour or more.
To make marshmallow syrup, add four ounces of marshmallow root to one quart of water and simmer over low heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Then strain to remove the spent herbs. Add one cup of honey (or other sweetener if preferred) to the concentrated tea and warm together until thoroughly mixed. A couple of drops of essential oil (such as peppermint or orange) can be added to the finished syrup as flavoring. Bottle the finished syrup and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
As a soothing internal botanical*, marshmallow is used in throat formulas and in herbal teas. Marshmallows demulcent action makes it a beneficial ingredient in syrups, lozenges, teas and throat sprays. Marshmallow root makes a soothing and drawing poultice or ointment.
In skin care, marshmallow is used as an emollient. It can be added to creams and lotions. The powdered root can be moistened and mixed with oatmeal, tied into a cloth and used to wash the skin.
Because it's a perennial herb and easy to grow, consider using marshmallow as a substitute for slippery elm bark. (Slippery elm harvest can damage or destroys the trees if not done correctly. Wild slippery elm, while not currently endangered, is on the United Plant Savers watch list, due to habitat loss, potential over-harvesting and susceptibility to Dutch elm disease.)
The Botanical Safety Handbook* classifies marshmallow as:
Class: 1 herbs which can be safely consumed when used appropriately
Per the German Commission E Monograph** for marshmallow root, there are no known contraindications, side effects or drug interactions. However, it is noted that, “The absorption of other drugs taken simultaneously may be delayed.”
*Michael McGuffin, ed., American Herbal Products Association's The Complete German Commission E Monographs, (Austin TX: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998