Marshmallow and heartburn
When people start talking about marshmallows, most people tend to think of that bag of big, fluffy white snacks that people like to take on camping trips. However, before these essential components of s’mores became a mass-produced snack, they were actually made from the root of a plant that could be found growing in mudflats. The marshmallow plant, also known as Althea, has a white root that is slightly sweet to taste. In addition to being a traditional ingredient in everyone’s favorite campfire snack, marshmallow root was also used in traditional medicine to help soothe coughs, irritations, and help fight heartburn.
It’s about the mucilage
Marshmallow, or althea root (as most health food stores like to label it), contains a high percentage of mucilage. Mucilage is a substance that swells and takes on a gel consistency when mixed with water. This gel-like substance can coat the inner lining of the throat and esophagus and help protect and calm it, making it an ideal additive to natural cough and sore throat remedies.
This covering and calming ability also makes marshmallow root tea an ideal remedy for mild heartburn due to its ability to protect the lining of the esophagus from the damaging effects of stomach acid, reducing inflammation and irritation. It is also believed to be helpful in cases of ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease because it can also help coat the lining of the stomach and intestinal walls.
In addition to being used as a tea to help with a number of digestive and throat ailments, marshmallow root can also be used as a paste to help soothe irritated skin. Just mix the powdered root with enough water to make a paste and apply it to the affected skin and then wrap it with a layer of gauze. However, be sure to rinse immediately if itching or irritation occurs.
While drinking marshmallow root tea will help prevent stomach acid from irritating the lining of your esophagus, there are also certain side effects to be aware of. Since the mucilage coats the digestive tract, it will also interfere with the absorption of prescription medications, so be sure to allow it to clear for at least two hours before taking your daily pills. Marshmallow can also affect blood levels, so people with diabetes or hypoglycemia should consult a doctor before taking it.