marshmallow soothes irritation from dry cough

It’s not what it sounds like. But the answer’s yes!

This herb’s name is not what it sounds like: it is not the marshmallow treat that you roast over the fire. Marshmallow root is a herb whose use goes back thousands of years. Marshmallow was commonly used in Greek medicine, and its botanical name, Althea officinalis, derives from the Greek word “to cure.”

Marshmallow is a demulcent herb that soothes irritated surfaces. So, it is commonly used for conditions like ulcers. For the same reason, marshmallow has traditionally been used for sore throat and dry cough. It is a frequent ingredient in herbal cough formulae.

A recent consumer survey strongly supports this traditional use. 822 people who bought either lozenges or syrups made from water extracts of marshmallow root to treat dry cough were asked to fill out a seven day survey. The result of the surveys showed that the marshmallow root had a good effect on the symptoms of irritation associated with dry cough. And marshmallow’s soothing powers were rapid: in most cases the soothing started within ten minutes.

Though not a placebo-controlled study, this survey supports the long traditional use of marshmallow root for treating dry cough.


Complement Med Res 2018 ;25(5):299-305


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For much more on marshmallow and other herbs see our book, Healthy Herbs: Your Everyday Guide to Medicinal Herbs and Their Use.

The Natural Path
 is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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