Can marshmallows help a sore throat?


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Botanical names:

Althea officinalis

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.


Risks and Side Effects

What are the side effects of marshmallow root? Because it’s been used for so long safely and is considered a “time-honored approach to strengthening the body,” products made from Althaea officinalis typically lead to few side effects.

It’s generally recognized as safe, and few if any reported side effects have occurred — although to be fair it hasn’t actually be studied in many clinical human trials (more using animals).

While it’s normally well-tolerated and easy to digest, it’s possible to experience certain side effects from taking marshmallow root, especially if you take other medications. Talk with your doctor about any possible interactions before taking marshmallow if you are pregnant, nursing, or have been diagnosed with an existing condition like inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes or high cholesterol.

Possible interactions of marshmallow root include affecting the way other medications are absorbed or excreted from the body. Marshmallow coats the lining of the stomach and can interfere with the absorption of other drugs.

It’s also possible that it can interfere with normal blood sugar control, so if you’re diabetic, prediabetic or taking insulin, you want to see a professional first to make sure you closely monitor blood sugar and avoid dangerous dips. Because of its effects on fluid retention, blood platelet formation and blood sugar levels, you should also stop taking marshmallow at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Uses and Dosage

You can find marshmallow root in many different forms, including:

  • powder
  • extract/tincture
  • skin ointment
  • capsules
  • syrups
  • marshmallow root tea

The exact kind you want to use and the dosage that works best depend on what condition you’re treating. Always check dosage recommendations on the specific product you’re using, since they can vary.

Look for commonly sold marshmallow powder or teas in health food stores or online. Marshmallow is also added to some digestive herbal tea blends or those intended to soothe a sore throat.

Syrup containing this herb is another option for treating coughs and respiratory issues.

If you’re up for making your own marshmallow root tea at home, purchase pure marshmallow root in powdered form or look for dried marshmallow leaf, and then add it in hot water for several minutes to steep.

No matter which way you decide to use it, make sure to drink it with enough water since this helps it form a thick, sticky substance. Most experts recommend taking it with at least eight ounces of liquid and using marshmallow at least one to two hours before or after using other medications.

Here are several ways to effectively use marshmallow root in its different forms:

  • For respiratory issues like sore throat, cough or colds: Dosing depends on how concentrated the supplement is, but usually one to two teaspoons of powdered marshmallow taken several times per day is effective and safe. Sipping on tea helps soothe a cough and reduce phlegm too. You can also try adding fennel, thyme and raw honey to marshmallow tea for even more throat-soothing benefits.
  • For digestive purposes: If you’d like to treat inflammatory bowel diseases, leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, opt for capsule supplements, powder, teas or tincture. Normally, a dosage of about six grams daily is taken for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, which might need to be divided into several split doses.
  • To soothe chapped, dry or wounded skin: Try applying a skin ointment or balm containing marshmallow root directly to the affected area.


  • Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) is an herbal remedy that has natural mucilage and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • It acts like a type of soft fiber and swells up when combined with water. This “slippery” quality forms a protective, thick coating around membranes.
  • Marshmallow root benefits include treating coughs, colds and bacterial infections; repairing the gut lining and preventing leaky gut syndrome; reducing digestive complaints; treating skin troubles; lowering inflammation; and supporting heart health.
  • The active ingredients within this herb that make it an effective mucilage and medicinal supplement include flavonoid antioxidants; certain amino acids (like asparagine); polysaccharides like pectin (a type of fiber); and various antiviral, antibacterial and anti-mucilaginous compounds, such as coumarin, kaempferol, phenolic acids, quercetin and tannins.
  • New to using this herb? You can consume it as a tea, tincture, powder, syrup or capsule, or apply it as a topical ointment.