Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) originated in central Asia but now has spread westward to Europe and eastward to China. The plant has been used since the time of the Romans when it was a vegetable delicacy. The leaves, root, and flowers are all used medicinally. Marshmallow contains mucilage polysaccharides. Mucilage can inhibit mucociliary transport, stimulate phagocytosis, suppress cough, increase the anti-inflammatory effects of desamethasone, and have hypoglycemic activity. Mucilage may also have antimicrobial, spasmolytic, antisecretory, diuretic, and wound-healing effects.
In traditional folk medicines, marshmallow has been used for broncitis, cough, as well as inflammation of the mouth, throat, urinary tract, skin, and digestive system.
Marshmallow stimulates the production of white blood cells and enhances the immune system.
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