Marshmallow root, also known as Althea officinalis, is now considered as one of the best herbs for acid reflux. Besides, this medicinal herb is still used for improving digestion, smoothing hair, skin healing, relieving pain and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, and more. However, don’t confuse it with the mallow (Malva sylvestris).
Acid reflux occurs when acid from the stomach moves upward into the esophagus, throat or mouth. It is so common a health problem that it affects more than 15 million Americans today. While it is the most noticeable symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn is the most common symptom of this condition. When it comes to the causes, a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia is considered the most common one. Besides, certain foods may trigger it too.
The treatment options for acid reflux include prescription medications, home remedies, lifestyle modifications, and surgery. If this is a mild reflux, home remedies may be the best bet. The recommended herbs include marshmallow root, slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra), meadowsweet leaf (Filipendula ulmaria), licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), chamomile, and so on. However, it is important to note that they can’t be a substitute for the medical advice of physicians although they offer real heartburn relief.
The common medicinal parts of marshmallow plant are leaves, blossoms, and root. Actually this herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient time. In the past, it was mainly used to treat the problems of the throat and bronchial passageways, such as sore throats and dry coughs. Today, its main medicinal uses have been extended to digestive disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, heartburn, and more.
Marshmallow can help relieve the burning of acid reflux because it has amazing soothing effect and anti-inflammatory properties. The secret is that it contains mucilaginous polysaccharides that can suppress coughing and inhibit bacteria’s growth and anti-inflammatory flavanoids. When swallowed, this mucilage will remain unaltered in the esophagus and produce film and act on inflamed membranes to provide relief. Besides, it also makes the healing process faster by inducing phagocytosis.
These days, people can choose marshmallow tea, tinctures, infusion, or capsules according to their specific ailment. Similarly, the dosage is condition-based too. When it comes to marshmallow for acid reflux, tea is the preferred form. When marshmallow tea is prepared at home, the easiest way is to soak 5 tsp. of dried marshmallow root in 5 oz. of hot water for about 60 minutes before drinking.
Marshmallows are normally considered safe and non-toxic. However, it is worth mentioning that this herb may interfere with the body’s absorption of many necessary nutrients and other medications due to the mucilaginous qualities. So, it is a good idea to always consult a doctor for medical advice before using marshmallow for acid reflux.