October 2017
The Herb Lady

Marshmallow for kidney stones?

I treasure my one and only opportunity to meet and hear the legendary Tommie Bass speak. I tried to absorb every word this renowned herbalist uttered. As he held plant specimens, he told of their benefits.

When he held up a sprig of hydrangea, he said, "Now if a person will take hydrangea daily, he/she will not be bothered with kidney stones."

Recently, I have heard of seven or eight people who are presently suffering with this very painful health problem. Naturally, I thought of Bass’s remark.

"Hydrangea (Hydrangea aborescens) is a diuretic that has the reputation for dissolving kidney stones and relieving kidney related backache."

These words were written by someone who is much smarter than I am. Many people are benefiting by taking this herb. I was a grown woman before I ever saw this beautiful flowering shrub. It simply did not grow in the woods I roamed.

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) is a healing, soothing, soft-tissue-repair herb. It is in the same family as okra. It is my opinion that it provides a mucilage that can ease the passing of stones. I must tell you that the marshmallows we purchase today are simply puffed-up sugar. Once upon a time, they were made from the root of this plant. I once grew the plant in my large and treasured herb garden.

Around 20 years ago, I spent a day in agony that I firmly believe was caused by a kidney stone. I hurt and I made frequent trips to the bathroom. About every hour, I took marshmallow in capsule form. The pain continued. My husband, Richard, was ill and could not drive me to the emergency room. I hurt too badly to try to drive myself.

About mid-afternoon, a couple of cousins took me.

I wondered, "How under the sun am I going to travel 40 miles without finding a restroom?"

Shockingly, as we started down the road, I realized I was no longer hurting. It was also surprising that I traveled the 40 miles without a need to find a restroom.

Since I was now pain free, I actually felt foolish seeing the doctor, but I did so. I told her what my symptoms had been and how my symptoms had suddenly subsided.

She said, "Well, you have not passed a stone. If you had, there would have been blood in your urine."

(This old nurse knew about that.) I also told her about taking the marshmallow. She disregarded its possible benefit. However, I believe this herb eased the passing of a stone and prevented the usual irritation to the urethra – therefore, no bleeding occurred.

I have had no more symptoms of kidney stones.

When my mother-in-law developed kidney stones (before my interest in herbs), her doctor took her off all foods containing calcium. Due to her lack of calcium, her bones became weak and brittle. I now know that by taking horsetail (Equisetum arvense) along with calcium there is no danger of stones forming. Horsetail has a very high content of silica. In Europe, it has been determined we need this in order to gain the proper benefit from our calcium.

For those who would like more information about Tommie Bass, I suggest you Google "Tommie Bass" and/or "Darryl Patton."


Nadine Johnson can be reached at PO Box 7425, Spanish Fort, AL 36577, by calling 251-644-5473, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..