The root contains starch (37%), mucilage (11%), pectin (11%), flavonoids, phenolic acids, sucrose, and asparagine.
Do not overlook the benefit of Simply4Health Probiotics.
I was reading two articles this morning about bowel disease and was particularly moved by the frustration of this mother and her son. Then I read this article and started to wonder if any one of the researchers ever considered the use of Althea or Okra.
I know most people do not like okra, however it is my favorite vegetable and it has tremendous healing effects for the gut, because of the mucilaginous quality of the food. Althea, or Marshmallow root is very similar.
In fact Marshmallow root is one herb I use along with Astragalus to help people with Diabetes Type 1.
The use of these herbs and foods can do quite a lot to help inflammed tissues. Astragalus helps by being a deep immune tonic that helps support immune function and healing. I also think it is a far sight better than Prednisone. But then I think Bioprin is pretty good also. And there is a place for Okra-Pepsin compounds as well as organic flax oil.
From King's American Dispensatory: Althaea (U. S. P.)—Althaea.
Preparation: Syrup of Althaea
Related entry: Hibiscus Esculentus.—Okra
"The root of Althaea officinalis, Linné"—(U. S. P.).
COMMON NAME: Marshmallow.
Botanical Source.—Althaea officinalis is a peculiarly soft and downy, hoary, green herb, having a tap-shaped, rather woody root. It has several erect, simple stems, from 2 to 5 feet in height, round, leafy, tough, and pliant; the leaves are ovate or heart-shaped at the base, of various breadths, plaited, 5-ribbed, unequally serrated, petioled, soft and pliable, and more or less deeply divided into 5 acute lobes, The flowers are large, in very short, dense, axillary panicles, rarely solitary, of a delicate, uniform, blush color. The involucre has 8, 9, 10, or 12 divisions. The 1-seeded fruit is formed of numerous capsular carpels, closely and circularly arranged around the axis.
History and Description.—This perennial herb is found commonly on the banks of rivers, and in salt marshes. It is indigenous to Europe, and portions of Asia, in some parts of which it is cultivated in great quantities for medical use; and moist, sandy soils are preferred. It flowers from July to September. The whole plant, but especially the root, abounds with mucilage. Although the plant grows to some extent in the United States, the root is principally obtained from Europe for medical purposes, that which comes from Germany being much whiter but not so thick as that from the south of France. As found in commerce, the root is in pieces 3 or 4 inches long, or more, roundish, about 1/2 inch in diameter, with a feeble odor and very mucilaginous taste. It should be chosen plump, and little fibrous; with a very white surface, well cleared of its yellowish epidermis, downy from the mode of dressing it with files; and possessing no moldy, acid, nor musty odor, and no acid taste. Sometimes it is met with divided lengthwise. The plant contains nearly 20 percent of mucilage—(Ed., Duncan). Both the flowers and leaves are occasionally employed by the Europeans. The root should be gathered in the early spring or autumn of the second (not later than the third) year's growth, and only the fleshy portions retained, the older, woody roots being valueless.
The Pharmacopoeia of the United States directs that Althaea shall conform to the following description: "In cylindrical or somewhat conical pieces, from 10 to 15 Cm. (4 to 6 inches) long, 10 to 15 Mm. (.039 to .059 inch) in diameter, deeply wrinkled; deprived of the brown, corky layer and small roots; externally white, marked with a number of circular spots, and of a somewhat hairy appearance from the loosened bast fibres; internally whitish and fleshy. It breaks with a short, granular, and mealy fracture, has a faint, aromatic odor, and a sweetish, mucilaginous taste"—(U. S. P.).
Chemical Composition.—Althaea-root contains starch, pectin, mucilage, sugar, lignin, calcium phosphate, fixed oil, a viscid material, and asparagin (A. Buchner). Asparagin (C4H8N2O3.H2O), is a colorless, crystallizable body, without taste or odor. Ether and alcohol do not dissolve it, but it is extracted from the root with water, from which it may be crystallized by concentrating the solution. Its reactions prove it to be amido-succinamic acid, having the formula: CO2N.CH2.CHNH2.CONH2. When boiled with acids or alkalies, it splits into ammonia and amido-succinic acid or aspartic acid (C4H7NO4). Asparagin is distinguished by its optical activity, being laevo-rotatory in aqueous solution, which changes to dextro-rotatory by the action of acetic acid. Asparagin, when pure, is stable in solution, but is susceptible to fermentation in the presence of albuminoid substances, whereby it is converted into ammonium succinate.
Asparagin was discovered by Vauquelin and Robiquet, in 1805, in the juice of the asparagus plant, and in the marshmallow root, as althein, by M. Bacon, in 1826. It is identical with agedoite, found by Caventou in liquorice root (Jour. de Pharm., xiv., 177), and is found in many other plants, e. g., comfrey, dahlia, potatoes, the roots of Robinia Pseudacacia, etc. The mucilage (free from starch) of the root is extracted with cold water; the starch by boiling water.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—The root of this plant, as well as of each of the below mentioned plants described as substitutes, is demulcent and diuretic, and may be used indiscriminately, the one for the other. They will be found valuable, in the form of decoction, in diseases of the mucous tissues, as hoarseness, catarrh, pneumonia, gonorrhoea, vesical catarrh, renal irritation, acute dysentery, and diarrhoea. In strangury, inflammation of the bladder, hematuria, retention of urine, some forms of gravel, and indeed in nearly every affection of the kidney and bladder, their use will be found advantageous. Much use is made of them combined with equal parts of spearmint, in urinary derangements. They are likewise efficacious in gastro-intestinal irritation and inflammation. As the decoction soon decomposes, or becomes moldy or acid, it should always be made in small quantities, not more than 1 or 2 pints at a time, according to the temperature of the weather.
Externally, marshmallow root is very useful in the form of poultice, to discuss painful, inflammatory tumors, and swellings of every kind, whether the consequence of wounds, bruises, burns, scalds, or poisons; and has, when thus applied, had a happy effect in preventing the occurrence of gangrene. The infusion or decoction may be freely administered.