The decorticated dried root of Althaea officinalis, Linné (Nat. Ord. Malvaceae), a plant of salt marshes, river banks, and moist, sandy soils. Europe, Asia, Australia, and Eastern United States.
Common Name: Marshmallow.
Principal Constituents.—Mucilage, starch, pectin, and asparagin, an odorless and colorless crystallizable body identical with althein and agedolite, found also in many other plants.
Preparations.—1. Infusum Althaeae. Infusion of Althaea. Dose, Freely.
2. Decoctum Althaeae. Decoction of Althaea. Dose, Freely.
3. Syrupus Althaaeae. Syrup of Althaea. Dose, 1 fluidounce to 4 fluidounces.
Therapy.—External. A soothing application to inflamed surfaces; and may be used as an injection for dysentery, acute vaginitis, and the acute stage of gonorrhea. A favorite gargle for irritated throat. Applied upon a compress, it is reputed to be comforting to painful piles.
Internal. An excellent lenitive and demulcent diuretic employed to soothe irritated and inflamed mucous surfaces, in hoarseness, cough due to faucial irritation, gastro-intestinal irritation and inflammation, and as a soothing drink in vesical and renal irritation and inflammation, acute cystitis, strangury and gravel. If the mucilage chiefly is desired, an infusion should be prepared with cold water; if starch, with some mucilage is needed, a decoction. It may be given freely. A syrup of marshmallow is a good vehicle for pectoral medication.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.