Also, Known As:
- Mortification Root
Found growing in abundance in moist and wet places all over the world, marshmallow is a perennial aromatic herb that is sometimes found to grow up to four feet in height. While the herb can be found growing in plenty in the wild, it is also cultivated commercially for medicinal use. The root of the plant is white in color and tastes sweet similar to the parsnip (a long tapering cream-colored root cooked and consumed as a vegetable). However, unlike the parsnip, marshmallow roots contain plenty of mucilage (a gummy substance secreted by some plants containing protein and carbohydrates). The plant has numerous branchless stems that are wooly or covered with long, soft, white hairs. The marshmallow stems bear serrate (edged with indentations or with projections that resemble the teeth of a saw) and pubescent (covered with down or fine hair) leaves. The flowers of the herb are approximately two inches in width and they may be found in white, light red or royal purple colors.
Ointment or cream prepared with marshmallow leaves and elder flowers is an excellent remedy to cure facial aching, skin rashes or eruptions, leg ulcers and repulsive-looking wounds more rapidly. To prepare the useful ointment, first gently mash about one gallon of fresh marshmallow leaves and mature flowers each. Next, spread out the mashed leaves and flowers uniformly in a big roast pan and add approximately two-and-one-fourth cups of liquefied lard and one-and-a-half pounds of beeswax. Blend and beat the ingredients systematically with a wooden serving spoon, cover the pan and allow the ingredients to simmer or boil on an oven in 150° F. Continue simmering the ingredients until the herbs are reasonably crunchy and crush when touched. Then drain out the liquid mixture using a wire net strainer and keep on stirring the liquid with a wooden ladle till it is completely cold. Once the mixture has cooled, you may add half a cup of glycerin or 2/3 cup of pulverized slippery elm to preserve the ointment. Next, pour the ointment into clean jars or containers while it is still fairly warm and let it become firm to some extent. Seal the jars with air-tight lids and store the ointment in a cool and dry place till it is required for use.
Root, leaves, flowers.
Researchers over the years have shown that marshmallow has numerous medicinal benefits, particularly in safeguarding and soothing the mucous membranes. The roots of the herb are effective in counteracting additional stomach acid, peptic ulcers as well as gastritis. In addition, marshmallow has moderate laxative (a substance used to promote bowel movements) properties and hence is helpful in healing several problems of the intestines, including colitis, ileitis, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. Ingesting warm infusion of marshmallow leaves is effectual in curing cystitis as well as frequent urination. The demulcent (soothing irritated or inflamed skin or mucous membranes) properties of marshmallow offer respite from dry coughs, bronchial asthma, bronchial congestion or jamming of the bronchioles and even pleurisy. One may apply crushed fresh marshmallow flowers or a warm infusion prepared from the herb’s flowers to comfort the inflammatory (irritating and swelled) skin. On the other hand, marshmallow roots form a crucial ingredient of an ointment or cream that effectually cures boils and abscesses. The roots are also used in mouthwash for treating inflammation. In addition, peeled fresh roots of marshmallow can be given as a chew stick to teething infants.
Other medical uses
- Peptic ulcers
Habitat of Marshmallow:
Although the marshmallow is indigenous to Europe, over the years, the herb has acclimatized itself in the Americas where it is now commercially cultivated for medical use. Usually, marshmallow grows best in marshy lands. The above-ground parts of the plants are collected in summer when they just begin to blossom. On the other hand, the marshmallow roots are dug out or harvested during the autumn.
Marshmallow root contains about 37% starch, 11% mucilage, 11% pectin, flavonoids, phenol acids, sucrose, and asparagine.
Marshmallow can be ingested in various ways. One may consume a tea prepared with marshmallow both hot or cold. In order to prepare tea with marshmallow, add the herb’s roots and/ or leaves to cold or hot water and allow it to steep for some time. You may drink the tea three to five times every day. Extracts of the herb are also available in capsule and tablet forms. One may use these tablets or capsules that provide five to six grams of marshmallow daily. As an alternative, it may also be ingested as a tincture. Taking five to fifteen ml of marshmallow tincture three times every day is effective to cure several disorders.
Possible Side Effects and Precautions:
Researchers over the years have not found any side-effects of marshmallow application. The herb has been reported safe for use.
How Marshmallow Works in the Body:
What the mucilage presents in the marshmallow is the primary component that not only safeguards the body tissues but also soothes them during inflammation. While it is an established fact that marshmallow is extremely useful in soothing inflammations in conditions such as bronchitis, pleurisy, even dry cough and other respiratory problems, since ages the herb has also been used to protect and heal the digestive system. It is particularly useful in curing digestive system disorders such as ulcers and gastric inflammation which often lead to tetchy bowel syndrome and other symptoms. Marshmallow and its extracts are used in the urinary system to comfort the aggravated tissues in urinary tract infections like cystitis. Poultice prepared with marshmallow leaves and roots may be applied externally to heal skin problems like ulcers and boils. In fact, the herb has a double action – it soothes the irritation as well as heals the disorder.
- SYRUP: Syrup prepared from the infusion of the marshmallow flower is beneficial in curing various types of coughs. It may be used as a cough expectorant.
- INFUSION: An infusion prepared by boiling and then cooling the marshmallow leaves may be used to cure bronchial and urinary disorders.
- DECOCTION: In order to cure inflammations like esophagitis and cystitis (an inflammation of the urinary bladder owing to infections). To prepare the decoction, add 25 g of marshmallow root to one liter of water and then boil it down to about 750 ml. In certain cases, the decoction may require some dilution by adding water.
TINCTURE: Tinctures prepared from the marshmallow roots may be used to cure swellings and irritations (inflammation) of the mucous membrane in the digestive and urinary systems.
POULTICE: To prepare a poultice of marshmallow, use the plant’s root or a paste prepared from the powdered root blended with water. This poultice is effectual in curing skin irritations and swellings (inflammation) as well as ulcers.
OINTMENT: Ointments or creams prepared from marshmallow or its extracts are highly effectual in healing injuries, skin ulcers and even to even pull out unwarranted particles from the skin. To prepare an ointment with marshmallow, liquefy 50 g of lanolin, 50 g beeswax and 300 g of soft paraffin (a white colored waxy solid combination of hydrocarbons acquired from petroleum) collectively. Next, heat 100 g of powdered marshmallow root in these liquid fats for an hour over a water bath and after it cools, blend 100 g of powdered slippery elm bark by stirring.
Marshmallow Face Mask –
The marshmallow face mask is also apt for sensitive skin and the ingredients required to prepare it to include:
- 2 tablespoonfuls (30 ml) of a potent decoction prepared with marshmallow root
- Superior quality oatmeal
- 2 tablespoonfuls (30 grams) of natural yogurt
Blend the marshmallow infusion and the yogurt and add the oatmeal. Stir the mixture thoroughly to prepare a paste. Apply this mixture uniformly and gently to your face.
Herbal Marshmallow Root Detangler.
3 cups distilled water (purified will work in a pinch)
2 tablespoons marshmallow root
1 tablespoon horsetail
1 tablespoon oat straw
1 cup aloe vera juice (or so, read directions)
10-30 drops essential oil *optional
- Make an herbal decoction with the marshmallow root and water – Boil water and add marshmallow root then turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Take off heat and remaining herbs. Let rest at least 15 more minutes.
- Strain through cheesecloth-lined sieve into the bottle when cool.
- Add aloe vera juice (if the infusion results in less than one cup, I just use equal parts aloe vera juice so its half infusion and half aloe).
- Spritz on comb or hair and get to work!
- Alopecia areata (hair loss)
- Agitation, possibly including agitation related to dementia
- Constipation (with abdominal massage using aromatherapy)
- Pain: Studies have found that people with rheumatoid arthritis, cancer (using topical chamomile), and headaches (using topical peppermint) require fewer pain medications when they use aromatherapy
- Itching, a common side effect for those receiving dialysis
People have been using herbs for their hair care and, over and again, they form vital ingredients of many shampoos, conditioners as well as rinses. As far as hair care is concerned, rosemary is the herb that is highly valued and has the repute of being an excellent common conditioner which makes the hair glossy, silky, aromatic and somewhat darker. In fact, there are two more herbs, sage, and chamomile, which have also been prized highly over the centuries. While sage is valued in the form of a hair conditioner and darkener, it is believed that chamomile possesses the aptitude to make fair hair brighter and, at the same time, make all types of hair softer. In addition, the golden flowers of mullein are also thought to exaggerate blond highlights.
Traditionally, it has been claimed that parsley helps to make the hair dense as well as enhance its color. Similarly, the herb called southernwood augments hair growth, while the burdock roots regulate dandruff and the herb stinging nettle works as an excellent conditioner while also assisting in curing dandruff. Precisely speaking, there are numerous herbs right from kelp to yarrow that is believed to help in arresting hair loss and, simultaneously, encourage hair growth. However, it is unfortunate that there is no herb that has been scientifically proved to be effective in hair care. There are some more herbs which just help to make the hair pleasantly fragrant.
Like in the instance of preparing cosmetic formulations using herbs, the recipes discussed in this article are just the preliminary ideas intended to illustrate the manner in which you are able to use herbs to prepare hair care products. In fact, it is advisable that you should try and experiment to discover the most excellent combination of herbal constituents to prepare the most suitable hair care product for you. All the ingredients mentioned in this article are either familiar plants or domestic items.
It is worth mentioning here that the state of your hair is considered to be an excellent sign of your overall health as well as nourishment. When an individual is exhausted and shabby and also ailing or miserable, his or her hair is likely to be devoid of its shine. In addition, various aspects, such as the sun, the wind, chlorine, chemical treatment of hair as well as hormonal changes also have the potential to have an effect on the health of your hair. It needs to be underlined that a nutritious diet is necessary for attractive hair and, hence, you need to ensure that your diet comprises lots of vitamin A, vitamin B, essential minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, iodine, silica. In addition, you also need to intake appropriate amounts of essential fatty acids and proteins.
Moreover, the type of shampoo you are using is vital. Several commercially available shampoos mainly comprise alkaline detergents that eliminate the natural oils from your hair as well as scalp. It is advisable that you should not wash your hair too often since this may stimulate the scalp excessively and, thereby, augment the hair’s oiliness. It is preferable that you opt for a natural bristle brush because using nylon brushes actually harm the hair and results in the splitting of the hair ends.
There are numerous herbs that make excellent natural shampoos, which nourish your hair and make it healthier. Some of the herbal shampoos that you may prepare yourself at home are bouncing bet natural shampoo, herbal Castile shampoo and quick herbal shampoo. The recipes for these are given in brief below.
BOUNCING BET NATURAL SHAMPOO
As the herb bouncing bet forms foams, it is often referred to as the soapwort. In the event it is available, you may also replace bouncing bet with more leathery dried root of bouncing bet. In order to get a variation, you may also substitute chamomile with rosemary, lavender, southernwood or even sage to get a darker hair complexion. You should use more of this shampoo prepared with indigenous herbs and should expect to see a lesser amount of lather compared to the commercially available shampoos. It may be noted here that unadulterated quality borax is commercially available in your neighborhood drugstore.
- Three tablespoonfuls of dehydrated bouncing bet herb
- One teaspoon of unadulterated quality borax
- One-and-a-half tablespoonful of dehydrated flowers of chamomile
- Two cups of steaming water
To prepare the bouncing bet natural shampoo, you need to put all the above-mentioned ingredients – bouncing bet herb, borax and dried chamomile flowers in a jar that is heat proof or any other container which can be sealed firmly. Add two cups of boiling water to these ingredients and stir it thoroughly. Allow the mixture to permeate, cover the container loosely till the solution becomes cool. Subsequently, cover the container tightly and shake the mixture thoroughly. Allow the mixture to hold for a couple of days and keep shaking it at intervals of once every few hours. Next, filter the liquid and apply it on your hair when necessary.
HERBAL CASTILE SHAMPOO
This natural shampoo is prepared to form castile soap which is based on olive oil. This is one herbal shampoo that creates as much lather as any other shampoo sold commercially and also cleanses thoroughly, washes off without any difficulty and is much gentler. Make use of unadulterated castile soap, either in the crumbling or powdered form or even grated from any solid soap bar. It may be noted that generally peppermint or other constituents are incorporated into the liquid Castile soaps. In case you have light hair, you may also use chamomile. Alternately, if the complexion of your hair is dark, you may add sage. You are also at liberty to include one tablespoonful of stinging nettle, southernwood or any other herb that is traditionally used for hair care. Alternately, you may also add any fragrant constituent, for example, orange peel or lemon.
- Two tablespoonfuls of dried up leaves of rosemary
- One-fourth cup of dried up flowers of chamomile or one tablespoonful of dehydrated leaves of sage
- One tablespoonful of dehydrated peppermint
- Two ounces of castile soap
- 2 1/4 cups of distilled water
- Two tablespoonfuls of vodka and three drops of either peppermint or eucalyptus oil
To prepare herbal Castile shampoo, you need to put all the dried herbs mentioned above in a weighty saucepan, pour in the distilled water on them and bring the mixture to boil. Lower the heat after some time and seethe the mixture for about 10 minutes. Subsequently, cover the container and steep the herbs for approximately 30 minutes. Filter the resultant liquid in a mixing bowl; compress the herbs with a view to extracting the entire liquid before throwing them away. Next, place the castile soap in a saucepan and pour in the liquid containing the essence of the herbs. Allow the soap and the herbal brew to bubble over low heat till the entire soap liquefies completely while continuing to stir the mixture using a wooden spoon. Allow the mixture to cool and when it cools completely, it ought to be thin as well as buttery. Now, blend the drops of eucalyptus or peppermint oil with vodka and keep whisking it into the shampoo mixture. Now the shampoo is ready. Pour it into a clean jar and seal it firmly. Place the jar containing the mixture in a warm place and allow it to stand for about four to five days prior to using it.
QUICK HERBAL SHAMPOO
The name of this herbal shampoo is an indication of the fact that it is one herbal shampoo that can be prepared very easily and quickly. All that you need to do to prepare the quick herbal shampoo is to blend a potent infusion of any herb used for hair care with any mild or baby shampoo that is available commercially.
- one-fourth cup of any baby or any other soft shampoo
- one-fourth cup of boiling water and one heaped teaspoon of dried up rosemary sage or stinging nettle. Alternately you may also use one tablespoon of dried flowers of chamomile
To prepare this herbal shampoo, add any of the above-mentioned herbs to boiling water and put off the heat after some time. Allow the mixture to steep for about 30 minutes, filter the herbal brew and, subsequently, blend it with the baby or mild shampoo. The quick herbal shampoo is now ready for use.
A number of hair conditioners, as well as rinses, can be prepared with herbs at home. These conditioners and rinses are effective in nourishing your hair, making it appear healthy and attractive. In addition, they do not have any side effects as the commercially available conditioners and rinses. Some of the common herbal hair conditioners and rinses along with their recipes are discussed in brief below.
HERBAL CONDITIONING OIL
This herbal oil ought to be prepared at least a week before the day you plan to use it because this conditioning oil requires sufficient time for it to soak up all the herbal essences. While preparing this herbal conditioning oil you may feel free to replace any traditionally herb used for hair care or any of the plant oils, for instance, soy, sunflower, jojoba, corn and peanut. In case the scent of the olive oil is not too potent, you may even substitute this oil. However, it is advisable not to use the extremely potently scented sesame oil. When you have already discovered a combination that you prefer most, you may prepare this hair conditioning oil in double or even more quantities and store the additional conditioner in a sealed bottle for use when necessary.
- One cup of safflower oil
- Half a cup of dried up flowers of chamomile
- One-fourth cup of dehydrated leaves of rosemary
To prepare this conditioner, place all the herbs in the top of a double boiler (any utensil having two pots) and pour the oil into it. Heat this mixture of the herbs and safflower oil for about 30 minutes and, subsequently, pour the blend into a jar having a wide opening. Next, wrap the mouth of the jar using a number of muslin layers put in place using a string or a rubber band. Place the jar in a warm place for about a week and keep stirring the mixture each day. When you find that the oil has acquired a distinct herbal fragrance, filter it into a spotless pot.
Depending on the texture and length of your hair, warm approximately one-third or half a cup of the oil over extremely low heat for some minutes. Then drench your hair with hot water and remove the water squeezing your hair. Subsequently, using your fingers spread the tepid oil all over your hair till the hair is completely covered with the oil conditioner. When you have applied the herbal conditioning oil thoroughly to your hair, cover the head using a shower cap or plastic bag and, if required, also pin it up. In order to maintain the oil warm, immerse a heavy towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and cover the damp hot towel firmly over the shower cap or plastic bag. If the towel becomes cool, wet it in hot water again, wring out the water and place it in the same position once more. Treat your hair using this technique for about anything between 20 minutes and 30 minutes. Eventually, shampoo your hair twice.
HERBAL EGG CONDITIONER
Herbal egg conditioner is a somewhat unique herbal hair conditioner, which is made up of herbal oils, egg and honey. This hair conditioner should be used in the manner described in the earlier recipe – the herbal conditioning oil. Alternately, you may just warm this hair conditioner and apply it directly to your hair and allow it to remain for about 15 minutes prior to shampooing.
- One egg
- Two teaspoonfuls of lemon juice
- About two to three drops of rosemary oil
- One-fourth cup of safflower or any other fine vegetable oil
- One teaspoonful of honey
To prepare this unique hair conditioner, first add honey and the lemon juice to the egg and whip them together. Next, decant the blend in the top of a double boiler (any utensil comprising two pots) and heat it, while keeping on stirring, till the blend becomes warm as well as creamy. Then allow the mixture to cool and when cooled slowly add the vegetable and rosemary oils to the creamy egg blend and continue to whip it using a whisk to make it combine well. Instead of using rosemary oil and vegetable oil, you may also use one-fourth cup of herbal conditioning oil (see the earlier recipe) to prepare this hair conditioner.
Herbs that have been traditionally used for hair care may be used to prepare effective rinses at home quite easily. These rinses not only nourish and shine your hair but also make it healthy. Besides, they do not result in any side effects like those of the commercially available hair rinses, which are mostly prepared using chemicals. The recipes of some of these herbal rinses are given below.
BLOND HIGHLIGHTING RINSE
In order to obtain the optimum benefits, the blond highlighting rinse should be used on a regular basis and, subsequently, dry your hair in the clear sunlight. Prior to applying this rinse, you need to shampoo and wash your hair using plain water.
- Two cups of water
- Two tablespoonfuls of dried out flowers of mullein
- Half cup of dried flowers of chamomile
- Juice of half a lemon
- One tablespoonful of orange flower water
To prepare this rinse, boil the water in a container and then reduce the heat. Add the dry chamomile and mullein flowers to the hot water and keep stirring using a spoon. Seethe the mixture for about 30 minutes and, subsequently, cover the container and allow the herbs to suffuse for many hours or during the night. Filter the resultant liquid, compress the herbs to take out the complete liquid. Next, whip the lemon juice and orange blossom water and add the herbal brew to it. Pour this blond highlighting rinse all over your hair many times. Once you have poured the rinse over your hair, collect the liquid in a bowl and reuse it several times.
DEEPENING RINSE FOR DARK HAIR
The deepening rinse for dark hair ought to be used in the form of a final wash following shampooing as well as rinsing properly using plain water.
- Two cups of boiling water
- One-fourth cup of dehydrated leaves of the herb sage
- Two tablespoonfuls of dried up leaves of rosemary
- Two tea bags of any common beverage tea
- One tablespoonful of dried up stinging nettles
To prepare the deepening rinse for dark hair, you need to add water to the tea bags and suffuse them in a covered container for about 15 minutes. Subsequently, take the bags out and compress them to bring out the entire liquid. Heat the tea once again till it comes to a boil. Next, pour the tea over the dried herbs, cover the container and allow the herbs to soak in the tea for approximately 30 minutes to an hour. Filter the resultant liquid and pour it over your hair many times using it as a rinse. Once you pour the rinse over your hair, catch it in a bowl and reuse it several times.
HERBAL VINEGAR RINSE
The herbal vinegar hair rinses assists in bringing back the natural acid balance of the hair and, at the same time, facilitates in getting rid of the insipid morsels of soap. While the herb bergamot is best for preparing this hair rinse, you may also substitute it with any other aromatic herb belonging to the mint family if bergamot is not available. As a substitute, you may use herbs like peppermint or basil.
- One-fourth cup of dried up bergamot
- One-fourth cup of dehydrated leaves of rosemary
- Two cups of clear cider vinegar
To prepare herbal vinegar rinse, place the dried herbs mentioned above in a jar with a wide opening. Next, heat the clear cider vinegar till it is on the verge of boiling and pour it on the herbs. When the vinegar cools down, cover the jar tightly. In case the jar has a metal lid, you should screw it using a few layers of plastic cover below the lid to ensure that the acidic vinegar does not react with the metallic lid of the jar. Allow the mixture to stand in a tepid place for about a week. In the meantime, shake the mixture thoroughly each day. Make use of a refined cheesecloth in a funnel to filter the vinegar containing the herbal essence in a bottle and cover it tightly. In order to use this herbal vinegar rinse, you may dilute the rinse by adding two to three cups of tepid water and pour the liquid over your hair once or twice in the form of a final rinse.
QUICK HERBAL RINSE
You may use any herb that has been traditionally used for hair care to prepare an infusion, which may be used in the form of a quick rinse. Allow the infusion to cool down to become tepid prior to using the rinse.
- Two cups of boiling water
- One or two tablespoonfuls of dehydrated rosemary, sage or even stinging nettle
Add the herbs to boiling water and put off the heat after some time. Let the mixture to suffuse for about 15 minutes and, subsequently, filter the resultant liquid and use it in the form of a hair rinse.
FLAXSEED SETTING LOTION
Flaxseed setting lotion helps in the growth of hair and makes it thick and healthy. The ingredients required to prepare this herbal hair setting lotion include a one-third cup of flaxseeds and one cup (250 ml) of water.
To prepare this flaxseed setting lotion, you need to squash the flaxseed using a spoon. Boil the water in a saucepan and, subsequently, lower the heat and whip the flaxseeds into the seething water. Use one teaspoon of flaxseed at one time and continue the process till the mixture becomes thick. Next, filter the seeds and dilute the mixture to the consistency level desired by you.