Here we are, right in the thick of “sick” season, and everyone (I mean, everyone) seems to be plagued by a lingering cough. And while you’re probably just doing the mom thing and suffering through it, it sucks to see your kids struggling to function through all their hacking. So, when you hear the, ahem, sweet remedy a doctor suggested to one TikTok mom, you might just be tempted to try it.
“I have been dealing with a cough now for six weeks. It has not gone away,” explains Lindsay Riipinen, before sharing her doctor’s advice to deal with her cough at bedtime. “She said, ‘Eat a jumbo marshmallow before bed. It sounds insane. There’s no science behind it. But it’s what I do. The gelatin helps coat your throat even better than honey.'”
And, well, in the immortal words of Taylor Swift, “Don’t threaten me with a good time.”
From the Jell-O water trick to serving salad “dip-style,” the internet is full of health “hacks.” Sometimes, they seem relatively harmless and thus worth the trial and error — like eating a marshmallow to soothe a cough. Why not, right? Even better, it turns out this hack isn’t just fluff (couldn’t resist).
Marshmallows have gelatin?
If you’ve never made homemade marshmallows, you might be surprised to hear marshmallows include gelatin. They’re not exactly the consistency of Jell-O, are they? But whether they’re the chunky, flavored homemade version or just the old reliable Jet-Puffed marshmallows, your favorite cocoa topping does, in fact, contain gelatin. (Further proof: Just look at Alton Brown’s recipe.)
What about marshmallow root?
It might surprise you, but marshmallows do not have marshmallow root in them. However, they used to — it’s been replaced thanks to modern food science. Still, it’s worth noting that marshmallow root can also be helpful when you have a sore throat or pesky cough.
If you’ve shopped for all-natural cough and cold medicines, you’ve probably even seen mention of marshmallow root in the ingredients. According to Health, using marshmallow root in cough syrup or throat lozenges builds a protective coating on the throat (like gelatin) and helps ease coughing.
Be forewarned, though: As with anything else, you can be allergic to marshmallow root. If you experience any of the common allergic reaction symptoms, you should talk to a medical professional immediately.
So, should you eat a marshmallow to help with your cough?
Healthline doesn’t recommend marshmallow or marshmallow root for coughs, citing a lack of enough scientific data to back it up and suggesting that there are better things to try.
Yet, according to a 2015 article from Clinical Advisor, there is actually some proof that marshmallows might help coughs. There are tons of effective cough drops and cough medicines on the market, but you don’t always want to take medicine every night for six weeks. Looking for an alternative aid is understandable.
As with everything else on the internet, though, it’s always good to do some research, talk to your doctor, and follow only the advice that is safe to try. It never hurts to ask, “What’s the worst that can happen?” If you’re not diabetic and don’t have allergies to anything in a marshmallow, it seems like the worst thing about trying this hack is that you have a delicious snack… but still have a cough.
At least there’s the potential for a moment of joy when you’re under the weather, right? Lindsey certainly looks pretty happy.