Commonly know as Hollyhock, the marshmallow plant, or Alcea rosea, is an ornamental plant which grows on the banks of rivers and in salt marshes, preferring moist, sandy soils.
Mythology and History
Althea root has a long history dating back thousands of years asan herbal remedy for cough, sore throat and other respiratory problems such as bronchitis and whooping cough. This is due tothe large amounts of mucilage found in the flower as well as in the root. The medicinal properties of the plant are reflected in the name of the genus, which comes from the Greek althainein, meaning "to heal".
Ancient Greeks used to boil althaea with honey and wine to cure wounds, dysentery, sciatica and the pain of the teeth. The leaves of the plant were used as a poultice on bites and skin burns.
Health Benefits & Modern Medicinal uses
Various parts of the plant boast health benefits, include the flowers, leaves, roots and stems.
Althaea has mainly been used in medicine for its ability to soothe the mucous membranes and used for bronchial and respiratory complaints. This herb has shown to be helpful in almost all problems related to inflammation of the digestive tract; including peptic ulcers, hiatus hernias, mouth ulcers, enteritis and colitis.
The flowers of the althaea are used to make expectorant syrups, for the treatment of respiratory and inflammatory problems.
Roots of the Althaea may be formed into a mouthwash and used to treat inflammation. It is in this form that the roots can be extremely helpful in aiding the irritation of teething infants.
Althaea is skin-soothing and draws moisture into the skin, making it a wonderful healing herb that softens and reduces inflammation from a wide variety of skin conditions.
Laboratory tests from the 1960’s concluded that althaea root has anti-inflammatory activity on the human tissue indicating that this herb could be helpful in treating cuts, scrapes, and other wounds, as well as a remedy for eczema, psoriasis and pinkeye.
Extract from the root or stems of althaea can be applied to the skin to soothe burns and treat skin ulcers, even as an alternative treatment to relieve redness and irritation that comes with eczema.
It is an imperative ingredient of ointments and creams that are effective in curing boils and other bodily abscesses.
Althaeaextract hydrates and supports the moisture balance within the skin. It is a non-oily emollient with soothing and softening properties, ideal for dry skin, promoting flexibility and resilience.