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References to marshmallow root as a healing herb are found in Homer's Iliad, written over 2800 years ago.
The use of the herb spread from Greece to Arabia and India, where it became an important herb in the Ayurvedic and Unani healing traditions. All of these traditions used marshmallow as a soothing agent.
Marshmallow root relieves irritations by coating inflamed surfaces. Its primary use in modern herbal medicine is to relieve sore throat, but it also relieves perianal inflammation (when taken orally) caused by severe diarrhea.