by Dorje Root, RH (AHG)
For those of you who might think I’m referring to those sweet, puffy white things, I’m sorry to disappoint you. The first marshmallows were actually made from the root of the marshmallow plant, and hence the name. I remember making them in my early years as an herbalist—when my kids were young. My youngest was very disappointed when she took some to a camp-out and tried to roast them on the fire. They didn’t melt.
Marshmallow root itself is one of the most soothing substances I know. Anyone who has ever made a tea of the powdered root can testify that after a few minutes in a cold infusion, the tea has a slimy consistency and a slightly sweet taste. Not bad, if you’re not offended by the consistency. It can also be made as a hot infusion in a pinch, simply by pouring boiling water on a teaspoonful of the powder and drinking right away. The sliminess of the infusion is what soothes. Whether it is a troubled digestive system, urinary tract infection, or inflamed, irritated lungs, marshmallow soothes so well it’s hard to think of living without it. In herbal terms it is a demulcent, a soother of internal tissues, and therefore also an anti-inflammatory. If I’m in need of this on the road, I just put a spoonful of the powdered root or a few spoons full of the cut root in my water bottle, and let it infuse as I drive, sipping it as needed.
A few relatives of marshmallow, in the Malvaceae family, that can be used in the same way are scarlet globe mallow and common mallow (local), and also hollyhock and hibiscus. A few other herbs that work similarly to soothe many systems are licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and slippery elm (Ulmus rubra).
In this holiday season, use marshmallow root for indigestion, soothing colds and flus, and soothing stress and frustration. I hope it becomes one of your go-to herbs as well.
Marshmallow flower essence, according to The Chemical Free Me, is “For softening emotions related to anger, agitation and frustration. Provides a calming effect on the emotional body.” That’s about what I thought it would be. Perhaps we all need marshmallow physically and emotionally in this inflammatory world!
Dorje Root, RH (AHG) is an herbalist and natural healer, also working with Plant Spirit Medicine, Intuitive Energy Healing and ‘The Journey’ cellular healing. For an appointment call 719-937-7786 or visit www.rootsofhealing.com.