Althaeae radix

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 01.08.2021

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Synonym(s)

Althaeae folium; Althea root; marshmallow leaves; marshmallow root; Marshmallow roots (engl.); Radix Althaeae; Radix Bismalvae

Definition
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Althaeae radix, also called marshmallow root, is obtained from the mallow species Altaeae officinalis, the true marshmallow. Althaea radix is a drug used in herbal medicines for the treatment of inflammation of the mucous membranes and dry irritating cough. The crushed drug, fluid extracts, dry extracts are used.

HMPC monograph: Traditional-use: Mucous membrane irritation of the mouth and throat, dry irritating cough, relief of stomach discomfort.
ESCOP mon ograph: Dry irritating cough; irritation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat; mild gastrointestinal complaints, irritation of the gastric
mucosaCommissionE monograph: Mucous membrane irritation of the mouth and throat, dry irritating cough; mild inflammation of the gastric mucosa.

Ingredients
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The marshmallow root contains up to 15% membrane mucus in the roots (galacturonorhamnan, arabinogalactan), which includes a mixture of branched glycans, sucrose (about 10%), starch and 10% pectins. Further ingredients are flavonoids.

Effects
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Althaeae radix has an anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory effect.

Field of application/use
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Althaeae radix is used in accordance with the guidelines of Commission E for inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat area and for mild inflammation of the stomach mucosa. The marshmallow root is commonly used for dry, irritable coughs and acts as an emollient for wounds and dry skin.

Dosage
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The usual daily dose is 6 g of roots and 5 g of leaves. The single dose of marshmallow syrup is 10 g.

Undesirable effects
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There are no known adverse effects

Contraindication
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Children under 3 years, allergy to any of the ingredients.

In pregnancy and lactation due to lack of data on safety.

For children and adolescents: No indication in gastrointestinal disorders, note dosage in case of irritation of the mouth and throat with irritable cough, see under EMA: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/herbal-monograph/final-european-union-herbal-monograph-althaea-officinalis-l-radix_en.pdf

Interactions
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If other drugs are taken at the same time, their absorption can be delayed.

Recipe(s)
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The fixed combination primrose root+marshmallow root+anise consists of:

has a slightly antispasmodic, soothing, antibacterial and secretolytic effect. In addition, it inhibits mucociliary activity, has expectorant effects and is used for a mild catarrh of the upper respiratory tract and for a dry irritable cough.

Note(s)
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Diabetics must pay attention to the sugar content of the marshmallow syrup.
Marshmallow roots should not be used hot as a tea infusion or boiled off, as the high starch and pectin content results in a viscous, viscous mucilage preparation.

Literature
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  1. Deters A et al.(2010) Aqueous extracts and polysaccharides from Marshmallow roots (Althea officinalis L.): cellular internalisation and stimulation of cell physiology of human epithelial cells in vitro. J Ethnopharmacol 127:62-69.

  2. Hage-Sleiman R et al.(2011) Pharmacological evaluation of aqueous extract of Althaea officinalis flower grown in Lebanon. Pharm Biol 49:327-333.

  3. Hermann PT et al. (2014) Hunnius pharmaceutical dictionary, 11th edition, De Gruyter Publishers p. 70.
  4. Pakrokh Ghavi P (2015) The extraction process optimization of antioxidant polysaccharides from Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis L.) roots. Int J Biol Macromol 75:51-57.
  5. Schilcher H (2016) Leitfaden Phytotherapie, Urban & Fischer Verlag Munich, pp. 112 ff.
  6. Sutovsk√° M et al.(2009) Possible mechanisms of dose-dependent cough suppressive effect of Althaea officinalis rhamnogalacturonan in guinea pigs test system. Int J Biol Macromol. 45:27-32.
  7. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/herbal-monograph/final-european-union-herbal-monograph-althaea-officinalis-l-radix_en.pdf
  8. https://arzneipflanzenlexikon.info/index.php?en_pflanzen=7