Marshmallow/Khatmi, Khitmi (خطمی), known scientifically as Althaea officinalis, is an African plant with short roundish leaves and small pale flowers. It was originally used medicinally by the Egyptians. Its usage was later adopted by the French. Today, it has a wide variety of medicinal uses.
- Marshmallow is most commonly used to ease sore throats and dry coughs.
- Marshmallow has been used to treat certain digestive disorders, including heartburn, indigestion, ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers and Crohn’s disease.
- Marshmallow extract is sometimes added to creams and used to treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and contact dermatitis.
- Marshmallow may be a helpful aid to radiologic esophageal examination.
- There is tentative evidence that marshmallow may also help with respiratory disorders such as asthma.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. However, herbs can trigger side effects, and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.
Marshmallow is generally considered safe. It has no reported side effects. It appears to be safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, although you should check with your doctor before taking it.
One study suggests marshmallow may lower blood sugar levels. So people with diabetes should talk to their doctors before taking marshmallow.