During pregnancy, any product a woman uses can potentially affect her growing baby, making treatment of any health problem -- from a sore throat to a serious health condition -- more complicated. Although many over-the-counter and prescription drugs are studied in the United States for safety in pregnant women, herbal supplements like marshmallow root are not held to the same standards. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.
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Marshmallow Root Uses
The root of the mallow plant, commonly known as marshmallow root, was used in ancient civilizations and throughout history as a tea, tincture, body wash or chewed medicine. Mallow reportedly eases acute infections and irritations, including burns and sore throats, and improves more serious health problems, such as bronchitis. In the 21st century, marshmallow root has been associated with healing effects on interstitial cystitis and other chronic diseases with inflammatory roles.
Marshmallow Root Mechanisms
Marshmallow root likely exerts its widespread benefits by soothing skin externally and internally to reduce swelling at bruises, burns and scarred tissues. Its soothing coating in tea products might loosen a cough and ease a sore throat, and the use of chewed marshmallow leaves might have similar effects on digestion.
Marshmallow Root Adverse Effects
During its extensive use in Europe since the Roman and Greek times, reported marshmallow root side effects have been minimal. No side effects are associated with its use alone, but it is possible that the active mucilagin in the marshmallow root can absorb and thus reduce the amount of other medications taken at the same time. The roots contain nearly twice the amount of mucilagin as the leaves.
Marshmallow Root Use During Pregnancy
According to the American Pregnancy Association, there is very little data on the use of herbs in pregnant women, and there is not consistency about the safety of herbal supplements during pregnancy. Despite two clinical trials of the plant for health benefits, marshmallow root has not been studied in pregnancy and cannot be considered safe.