Marshmallow is also among the listed ingredients of Burn & Wound salve.
Marshmallow - Althaea Officinalis, Malvaceae - is among ten herbs listed in the Expectorant And Demulcent section in Christopher's SoNH Herb Guide, along with Comfrey, Slippery Elm, Mullein, Chickweed, Elcampane, horehound, Wild Cherry, Licorice and Hollyhock. Christopher quoted Dr. Shook:
In all inflammatory processes, there is an exudation or sweating out of fibrin from the blood into the surrounding tissue. This exuded fibrin becomes non- functional and insoluble. No new fibrin can be formed without the aid of potassium chloride ...... when excessive, the chemical balance of the blood is upset, and nature calls for potassium and chlorine. If not available, the body will take these two elements from any compound containing them, such as potassium phosphate (thus robbing the nerves) or calcium chloride (which robs the heart muscle) and so on until a whole series of unbalanced conditions are created which are given fancy names and made profoundly mysterious, because we consume so much sodium chloride and so little potassium chloride. Nature provides an abundance of potash and chlorine in food and herbs.
Dr. Shook includes the following herbs as sources of potassium chloride: bladder wrack, Irish moss, greater celandine, elcampane, gravel root, wild yam, couchgrass, stinging nettle, pleurisy root, gum plant, wild cherry bark, apple ( fruit, bark, apple cider vinegar), etc.
Demulcent herbs soothe, soften and alley irritation of mucous membranes. These have slippery, mucilaginous or oleaginous properties which in solution, will coat, shield, lubricate and soothe the enflamed, abraded mucous membrane surfaces or other tissues, from irritating substances..... these herbs are suitable carriers, used to suspend other insoluble herbs in mixtures or emulsions so they can be taken orally. The term "demulcent" generally refers to agents employed internally and "emollient" refers to similar agents used externally on the skin. Most demulcents are emollient when applied externally, and in poultices they retain warmth and moisture, while absorbing pus from sores, boils, abscesses, etc. through the skin.
part used: root, leaves and flowers
therapeutic action: demulcent,emollient, mucilage, nutritive, vulnerary, absorbent, laxative, diuretic, and protective.
Christopher cites two cases of people who came to him for treatment. One was a man with a gangrenous leg whichi his MD recommended amputation, thus his visit to Christopher. Ray dug up a large quantity of marshmallow root, sufficient to make enough decoction to completely submerge the leg in the liquid and after a number of hours, the tissue had returned to normal. The second case was a man who ran a pitchfork through his foot. Christopher had him gather comfrey and marshmallow, growing abundantly on his farm, and to pack the foot in five pounds each of salt and onion, as a drawing poultice, for four hours, then to apply the comfrey and marshmallow as a poultice. By the next day the swelling was gone but soreness remained. He continued using the poultice and the foot was healed in a short period.....in a case where no drawing herbs are available, copious amounts of honey on the area will cause a drawing as well as soothing and healing, or soak the injured part in cayenne tea.
Marshmallow's power in decoction form for arresting gangrene ( historically called mortification) or putrefaction has been so great it has been popularly called "mortification root". The powdered root is very absorbent. When applied to moist surfaces it will draw and absorb all moisture. The root is high in lime, calcium and especially oxygen and pectin. It combines well with comfrey as well as slippery elm.
The plant in photo was dug up from one garden in late April, roots harvested and remaining roots replanted in the barrel shown in photo. This location gets about 4 hours morning sub each day. The transplant has grown exceptionally well quickly in this new location. This herb also reseeds itself easily and was close to taking over the garden when I harvested and several others.