Not a glamorous title, I know. But for anyone who has suffered a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or other urinary complaints, it is a very unglamorous way to spend your time. There’s pain, and that constant urge to pee, and it can get super frustrating as you are told to drink cranberry juice and wait it out.
But what if I told you that there was a wonder plant that could take that pain and urge to urinate away? Or that it is simple to get in this day and age, and is really easy to take? You’d be surprised to find out that it is the very plant that first made marshmallows marshmallowy.
Yes, it’s the Marshmallow plant, or Althaea officinalis. The Egyptians used to make a marshmallow candy out of this simple plant, and it inspired our marshmallow treats of today. Its medicinal value lies in the same component that helps it make a good confection, mainly the mucilage it contains.
Marshmallow roots and leaves are used as demulcents, meaning they soothe irritated tissues, including mucus membranes. They are also diuretics, and encourage the expulsion of urine. They also help guard tissues from abrasions caused by friction. These properties are particularly useful when an infection or kidney stones are making those delicate tissues and ducts of the urinary tract inflamed, irritated, torn, and just downright painful. Such soothing benefits can be useful for urethritis, gallstones and gallbladder issues, and any other urinary tract problems too. The roots can be used for digestive complaints as well, and the leaf has added expectorant and anti-catarrhal effects for help during cold season.
How to get Marshmallow
Many health food stores and online sites carry various kinds of extracts, teas and oils of many plants. If you decide to buy a prepared product, just be sure it is organic and from a reputable company, and use as directed on the product.
I prefer to get my marshmallow root or leaves by the ounce from reputable health food stores, and make pills or a tea. For tea, look for whole product, such as chunks of roots or whole leaves. For pills, you can crush up your whole herbs, or you can buy already ground roots or leaves.
You can also grow your own, then harvest and dry, and store for when you need it.
How to take Marshmallow
- Pills – This is by the far the easiest method. Just fill single “O” vegetarian capsules with your ground marshmallow roots or leaves. A recommended average dose is 2 capsules every 4 to 6 hours for an adult weighing between 120 to 160 lbs. Add or subtract amounts based on weight. Take as needed to relieve symptoms of pain, pressure, and the urge to urinate.
- Tea – A medicinal tea is made with 2 tablespoons of dry herb to one cup of water. Steep at least 15 to 20 minutes. If using pre-measured tea bags, use 3 to 4 teabags per 1 cup of water. Drink 1 to 3 times a day, as needed.
**As with any herb, discontinue use if any side effects occur, and always cross check your medications with any herbs you intend to use for contraindications.**