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Author: Muhammad Arshad Ullah and Ali Hassan


Marshmallow is an annual plant of the Malvaceae family that its leaves and roots are of medicinal properties. An infusion of its leaves is used for coughing, softening respiratory tract, and loosening phlegm.  Recently Marshmallow has been used as an aid in promoting the coughing up of phlegm, and many others respiratory problems. Due to its content of polysaccharides, it also relieves dryness and irritation in the chest and throat that is usually brought on by colds and persistent coughs. Marshmallow contained high molecular weight acidic polysaccharides (1.3 to 1.6 million Dalton) known as mucilages which found in flowers and leaves. These mucilages were composed of glucoronic acid, galacturonic acid, rhamnose and galactose. It also contained proteins, alkaloids flavonoids and minerals.

Althaea mucilage O, consist of oligosaccharides were obtained: O-α-(D-galactopyranosyluronic acid)-(1-2)-L-rhamnopyranose, O-β-(D-glucopyranosyluronic acid)-(1-3)-O-α-(D-galactopyrano syluronic acid)-(1-2)-L-rhamnopyranose and hexasaccharide, nonasaccharide, dodecasaccharide composed of a repeating unit having the structure of the trisaccharide through position 4 of the D-galacturonic acid residue .80 % ethanolic Althaea officinalis extract was active against Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Aspergillus flavusspecies.

The aqueous extract also induced the release of cytokines, interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor from human monocytes in vitro, thereby exhibiting anti-inflammatory and immune stimulant activity. Ethanol/water (1:1) extract of the dried entire plant, at a concentration of 5.0 mcg/ml, produced weak activity vs superoxide anion when estimated by the neotetrazolium method.  Many compounds were extracted from different parts of Althaea officinalis; these included pectins 11%, starch 25-35%, mono, and disaccharide saccharose 10%, uucilage 5%, flavonoids (Hypolaetin-8-glucoside, isoquercitrin, kaempferol, caffeic, pcoumaric acid), coumarins, scopoletin, phytosterols, tannins, asparagines and many amino acids. Flowers as well as roots are used in the treatment of inflammation of the kidneys and the uterus. Seeds are thought to be diuretic and febrifuge. Administration of Althaea rosea extract also reduced the elevated urinary oxalate due to ethylene glycol. Water extract of Althaea rosea produce the following effects on immune system.

Furfural is one of the compounds in marshmallow extract which turns into the toxic pyromucic acid in liver after oxidation. Therefore; furfural may indirectly cause oxidative stress and damage the liver cells. Plasma protein is the major extracellular protein which is synthesized by liver cells. Since there is a close relationship between the rate of hepatic protein synthesis and total protein concentration in plasma, the increased concentration of total protein in plasma of the fish fed marshmallow extract at 2.50 g kg-1 feed indicates increased protein synthesis in liver. It has been reported that materials such as thymol and eugenol prevent protein breakdown. Also, a significant increase in plasma total protein was reported in the fish fed with mistletoe (Viscum album) extract, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), ginger (Zingiber officinale), silymarin (Silybum marianum) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium L). Compounds such as pectin and mucilage in marsh-mallow extract can not only increase the secretion of bile acids but also reduce cholesterol uptake in the intestine. Marshmallow extract has a mixture of natural terpenes and terpenoids. These compounds including carvacrol, thymol, linalool, beta-bisabolene and terpinene have numerous therapeutic properties such as antioxidant activities. Oral administration of thymol and carvacrol activates antioxidant enzymes and protects hepatocytes against severe damage. Carvacrol supplement reduced AST, ALT and LDH activities in plasma of the fish treated with D-glucosamine. Flavonoids in the plants may reduce glucose uptake in intestine via inhibition of sodium-dependent glucose transport. Moreover, it has been suggested that carvacrol significantly reduces glucose levels by improving insulin resistance in diabetic rats.   

Keywords: Glucoronic, pyromucic and galacturonic acids, Rhamnose and galactose, O-α-(D-galactopyranosyluronic acid), Thymol and eugenolpectin, Mucilagenatural terpenes and terpenoids, Carvacrol, Reduction in AST, ALT and LDH activities by Marshmallow Plant Parts Constituents for publication process.
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