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Marsh-Mallow Tea

Marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) won its place in herbal medicine primarily because of its high mucilage content. An important material to the human body, mucilage forms the protective layer covering the membranes of the bronchial tubes, intestines, stomach and bladder. Not surprisingly, traditional medicine has recognized the plant's value for treating inflammations of the body's mucous membranes. Marsh mallow is commonly used to relieve coughs, bronchitis and asthma, as well as gum and mouth irritations, sore throats, abdominal distress, vaginal irritations and skin wounds. The flowers and leaves of the marsh mallow plant are sometimes used in medicinal preparations, although a root tea is the most common ay to reap the many benefits of marsh mallow.

Tea preparation
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tsp. of dried marsh mallow leaves and flowers and cover; strain after 10 min. The root is prepared as a decoction: Let 1 tbsp. of dried marsh mallow root stand in 1 cup of cold water for 1 hr., stirring occasionally. Heat to a gentle boil; simmer, covered, for 10 min. Remove from heat. Drink 2-3 cups a day after meals. If you have bronchitis, add a touch of honey.

Therapeutic Effect : The mucilage in marsh mallow protects the skin and internal mucous membranes from irritants. It decreases the oversensitivity of nerves that cause coughs and related throat pain. The starch, volatile oils, pectin and minerals found in the marsh mallows root have an anti-inflammatory effect and increase the body's immunity.

Cough relief
Marsh mallow is a mild, reliable medicinal plant that can be used for treating coughs and bronchitis. The root is especially effective in suppressing the urge to cough, while the leaves and flowers can help loosen mucus. Marsh mallow boosts the action of our white blood cells, which attack bacteria and other invading organisms that can cause inflammation and disease.

Effective gargle
Gargling with marsh mallow tea can provide quick relief for inflammation of the gums, mouth and throat. Gargle an infusion made from the plant's root several times a day.

Take care! : Marsh mallow's coating action can delay the absorption of medications you may be taking, reducing their effect.

Medicinal Uses

For intestinal discomfort
Marsh mallow tea helps relieve inflammation of the rectum and ease the discomfort of hemorrhoids. Prepare a decoction of marsh mallow root, and let it stand 20 min; strain. Drink 2-3 cups a day. Use any excess tea as a compress for inflamed hemorrhoidal tissue. Apply after each bathroom visit.

For vaginal irritations
To relieve symptoms of inflamed and irritated vaginal mucous membranes and reduce whitish discharge, try douches of a warm marsh mallow root decoction. Or, bathe with 2 cups of the decoction added to warm bathwater. Douche or bathe 1-2 times a day, including once at bedtime until the symptoms are eased. Be sure to see a physician if any discharge persists.

As a sleep aid
Bad coughs often prevent you from getting restful sleep. Two tbsp. of marsh mallow syrup before bedtime can help: steep 3 oz. of dried marsh mallow root for 24 hr. in 4 cups of cold water. Boil gently for 20 min. cool for 20 min; strain. Dissolve 1 ½ cups of honey in the liquid. Transfer to a dark colored glass bottle.

Healing Tea Mixtures

For mild abdominal discomfort

1 oz. masrh-mallow root
1 oz. peppermint leaves
1 oz. fennel seeds
1 oz. chamomile flowers

Prepare this tea to help ease stomachaches and intestinal gas. It is a good option for children-they will drink it readily.

For cough

1 oz. marsh mallow root
½ oz. thyme
½ oz. lemon balm
½ oz. plantain leaves
½ oz. calendula flowers

Prepare this tea to soothe the irritation caused by stubborn coughs. This tea has a strong expectorant effect.

Anti-inflammatory gargle

1 oz. marsh mallow root
½ oz. sage leaves
1 oz. blackberry leaves
½ oz. calendula flowers

Prepare this tea to relieve inflammation of the mouth and throat and to promote healing. This tea makes an excellent gargle.