Healing The Gut with Marshmallow Root

There’s much more to that sweet, fluffy treat we enjoy melted in a s’more or sprinkled atop hot cocoa. Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) is an ancient herb whose Greek name, Althainean, means “to heal.” Ancient Greek and Egyptian healers used Marshmallow flowers and leaves in salads to support healthy digestion. A secretion, known as mucilage, from its roots and stems, was used to soften the skin, treat sore throats, and ease congestion. Naturopathic doctors use Marshmallow Root (aka “mallow”) for these purposes and in treatment preparations for:

  • inflammation of the lining of the stomach
  • digestive issues including diarrhea stomach ulcers, constipation
  • inflammatory bowel disease, leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune disorders
  • skin conditions such as eczema
  • bloating and water retention
  • dry coughs and colds
  • bacterial infections and respiratory infections

A key healing property of Marshmallow Root is the ability to soothe inflammation of the mucous membranes throughout the body. When food sensitivity/allergies, illness, or other factors interfere with healthy digestion, a person can experience upset stomach, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea. Mallow forms a thick protective coating in the digestive tract, which helps reduce the burning and tame other symptoms of digestive distress.

With tall stalks topped by a lovely five-petal white blossom with purple center, Marshmallow Root makes a striking addition to a garden – especially if you enjoy harvesting for herbal tea. Supplements come in different forms including powder, tea, extract, ointments, and capsule. While considered safe for most adults and children, do ask your La Mesa naturopathic doctor which preparations of are best for you.

Contact our office for more information

Journey of Health Medical Clinic



  1. Betty Torres says

    Hi can marshmallow root change the color of your stool?

    • Dr. Shannyn says

      Marshmallow can change the color and the consistency of your stool, usually a paler color and looser stool depending on the amount you are ingesting and what else you are taking with it.

  2. Alysha Marshall says

    Hi can marshmallow root cause mucus in your stool?

    • Dr. Shannyn says

      Marshmallow root is a demulcent so it create a protective slime or a cloud so to speak over your hills and valleys that make up the immune system, enzymes and other digestive functions. It can help act as a mucosal layer when your body either over produces or runs out or doesn’t make enough mucus for protection. So in that way, you can see some mucus in your stool with a demulcent but it is likely caused by an underlying problem such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and not the botanical itself.

  3. Can marshmallow root cause constipation? I took some for a few days to try to alleviate some mild gastritis I’ve been having. After taking it, I went for 48 hours without a bowel movement, something which has probably only happened once or twice in my life and even after this the bowel movements have been small and clearly not a proper empty

    • Dr. Shannyn says

      While it is not a common reaction, everyone is an individual. Many times I find that it may not be a reaction to the botanical but more of the body’s response to a microbiome change or inflammatory response changing as a result of the herb. Sounds like it would be helpful to get some guidance in your care.

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