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Marshmallow Root – A Magical Ingredient for Hair & Skin

marshmallow root

Before you get your hopes up too high that this article will include a killer s’mores or Rice Crispy treat recipe, that’s not what marshmallow root is about.

But, hey! Don’t click away just yet! While it may not be what you expected, marshmallow root has tons of benefits that can help promote better skin and hair health. So, it’s still sweet in its own way!

Marshmallow root has been used for centuries for its various medical benefits, including wound healing, as an anti-inflammatory and relieving skin irritation. 

For hair, it binds with proteins to make it appear thicker and can also be used as a hair detangler and conditioner and could potentially aid in hair growth.

It’s a magical multipurpose beauty marvel! Did we mention that it’s all-natural too? Talk about a bonus!

Today, we are delving into the many uses of marshmallow root. This article will outline what it is, its benefits and how to use it.

It’s a sticky situation in the best possible way, so let’s get straight into it!

What is Marshmallow Root?

what is marshmallow root

Marshmallow root is a perennial herb native to Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. It is also referred to by its official scientific title – Althaea Officinalis L.

The name ‘Althaea’ genuinely comes from the Greek word meaning ‘healing plant,’ so you know you’re in for some mad healing powers.

Research suggests that marshmallow root extract serves multiple purposes to promote skin and hair health through its various anti-inflammatory, conditioning and hydrating properties.

And those are just the beauty applications! Marshmallow root also can help treat coughs and colds, relieve pain, aid the digestive tract, support heart health, and serve as a possible diuretic.

Fun fact, marshmallow root has also been used historically as part of rituals to treat impotence and as an aphrodisiac.

According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, marshmallow root seeds would be collected under a full moon and made into oil used on the genitals. Or, if rubbing marshmallows on your junk wasn’t particularly your scene, an amulet made of the leaf and root could also be kept under the genitals for the same purpose.

So, you know, there’s also that. Seriously, is there anything marshmallow root can’t do?

The primary component of Althaea Officinalis, or marshmallow root, comes in the form of a thick, gooey substance called mucilage. According to that same 2009 study, mucilage is responsible for treating wounds and chapped dry skin. It also helps soothe sore throats and stomach ailments.

This mucilage is what is incorporated into ointments and other topical treatments as a skincare ingredient.

In addition to mucilage, marshmallow root also contains several other components that promote hair and skin health, including antioxidants, antibacterial properties and more.

At this point, we should issue a disclaimer even though we briefly touched on it already. Marshmallow root is not the delicious sugar-coated delight used to make some of our favourite sweet treats.

In fact, the fluffy, delectable marshmallows we all know and love today aren’t even made from the marshmallow plant anymore. Instead, they’re made with gelatin. We just thought we’d let you know in case you wanted to go out and buy marshmallow root in hopes of putting it on a stick and roasting it on a campfire.

That said, you can purchase marshmallow root tea or make marshmallow root tea yourself to reap its internal healing benefits.

Benefits of Marshmallow Root for Skin

 
 
 
 
 
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As we mentioned before, marshmallow root presents multiple benefits for various skin ailments and would make an excellent addition to your skincare regimen.

Benefits of Althaea Officinalis for skin include:

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

For those suffering from irritated, red and itching skin, marshmallow root is coming to your rescue!

Marshmallow root has been used throughout history to help treat skin wounds and conditions from burns to bites to injuries and everything in between.

These healing properties are significantly due in part to the root’s anti-inflammatory properties. In this way, it can also help with other skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema and rosacea

According to a 2013 study, evidence suggests that ointment containing 20% marshmallow root extract reduces skin irritation, with researchers suggesting that the herb helps stimulate particular cells that promote anti-inflammatory activity.

However, it is important to note that, when used alone, the extract was considered slightly less effective than an ointment containing another synthetic anti-inflammatory drug. That said, more research is necessary to confirm these findings.

It’s Incredibly Hydrating

The mucilage in marshmallow root protects the skin barrier by forming a protective layer that seals in moisture. These qualities make it a popular ingredient choice for those with dry skin types.

If you have dehydrated skin, it may seem like a good idea to moisturize more thoroughly and use more product. However, this will likely be counterproductive and instead serve to make the skin more oily, resulting in breakouts.

Instead, you should think more carefully about how to more effectively moisturize, and seeking out ingredients such as Althaea Officinalis is an excellent place to start.

It’s a Powerful Anti-Aging Ingredient

On top of its healing properties and hydration elements, marshmallow root also contains significant properties, such as polysaccharides and flavonoids, that help with tissue repair.

In other, more straightforward terms, it makes it a fantastic ingredient for reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles in areas where the skin is more delicate and prone to dryness.

The previously mentioned conditions make it an excellent ingredient for the skin around the eyes and eye cream products that will help skin appear more supple and hydrating, helping your skin look more youthful.

Who doesn’t want that?

Benefits for Hair

marshmallow root for hair

We meant it when we said that the benefits of marshmallow root aren’t solely skin related. It’s a multi-use herb that refuses to be confined to one function.

But that’s one of the things we love most about it!

Here are some examples of how this healing herb can benefit your hair:

It’s Moisturizing

Similar to how it can help protect the skin barrier and help dry skin types, the hydrating properties of marshmallow root extend to hair care, as well.

More specifically, it can be a hugely beneficial ingredient for promoting proper scalp care by combatting dry scalp and reducing skin inflammation.

It also supplies cooling properties, which can help relieve irritated, itchy or inflamed scalps due to conditions, including dandruff.

It Detangles

The slippery consistency of the mucilage of marshmallow root makes it ideal for adhering to the hair.

It also makes it practical for gently working its way through each strand and helping detangle and softly break apart any troublesome knots.

Anyone with a hair type more prone to tangles knows the frustrating, tedious and often painful process of removing knots from your hair. It’s enough to make you want to shave it off altogether!

In this way, any ingredient that hydrates and detangles is like a gift from the gods.

It May Promote Hair Growth

Marshmallow root contains lauric acid, a primary fatty acid. Another substance celebrated for its hair health benefits that include lots of lauric acid is coconut oil.

It is also high in plant proteins, which allows it to bind with the proteins in the hair to nourish and thicken strands, promote shine, and potentially promote hair growth.

Coupled with its ability to detangle and prevent breakage, regular use of this herb could make your hair more manageable and healthy.

One 2018 study stated that aqueous rosemary leaf combined with marshmallow root extract might produce positive hair growth promotion effects.

However, more research is necessary to support its efficacy.

How to Use Marshmallow Root

Of course, the directions for how to best use Althaea Officinalis will differ from hair to skin.

In terms of skin, the anti-inflammatory and moisturizing characteristics make it an excellent choice for people with dry or combination skin types and those with eczema or rosacea.

That said, you don’t need to uplift and alter your entire skincare routine. Instead, search out moisturizers or eye creams that list marshmallow root as an ingredient and apply as you usually would.

Regarding hair, you can find marshmallow root as an ingredient in multiple rinse-out and leave-in conditioner options. Depending on your hair type, the necessary amounts to use will vary.

For instance, if you have thicker, curly hair, you will likely require more hydration than if you were to have thin hair that is more prone to becoming greasy.

Is it Safe?

There are no reported incidents of adverse side effects for people using this ingredient.

However, you should still be safe and perform a patch test for any new product that you plan on applying topically to your skin.

Performing a patch test will allow you to see if your skin has any adverse or allergic reactions. If skin appears to be irritated, itchy, or inflamed, do not continue using the product.

Marshmallow Root – The Beauty World’s Jack of All Trades

If you’re looking for a multipurpose beauty ingredient that can help treat multiple ailments and concerns, marshmallow root is where it’s at!

You cannot only treat your skincare woes, such as inflammation, dry skin and signs of ageing, but it can also be used to combat common hair complaints such as dry, brittle strands, lack of growth and knots and tangles.

Who knew that one element could do so many things?

In this way, marshmallow root is an excellent ingredient to incorporate into your self-care arsenal to promote overall health and wellness while looking good doing it!

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