Marshmallow

Marshmallow

althaea officinalis

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: No
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used:
  • Side Effects:
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About Marshmallow

Marshmallow, an extraordinarily beautiful perennial, is closely related to cotton, okra, and hibiscus. It waves from the family Malvaceae and comprises of tiny pale white or somewhat bluish flowers with soft lobed leaves (3 or 5 lobes) that impart velvety texture on touch.

The campfire-friendly, sweet, and puffy marshmallows are nowhere near to this natural entity. From toothaches to beestings, marshmallow knows how to tackle absurdly diseased conditions.

For millennia, marshmallow is used as food and gentle medicinal herb. For a very long time, the textual pieces of evidence that claim marshmallow plants as the only source of food during harsh famines. It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-tussive, and emollient properties. Its leaves and roots are used to treat severe diarrhea, constipation, ulcerative colitis, and other gastrointestinal disorders. Moreover, marshmallow is also effective in treating both upper and lower respiratory tract illnesses. Further clinical trials have proclaimed it to efficacious for treating urinary tract infections.

Marshmallow plant thrives in salty marshes and can grow up to a small height of 2 to 4 feet. It produces sweet sap which was utilized by ancient Egyptian and Greeks for preparing sweet delicacies to please their Pharaohs and Gods.

Growing

Marshmallow is an easy growing plant that does not fuss much about favorable conditions. All they need is moist sandy soil with full to partial sun exposure. Its seeds require the aura of spring to thrive robustly.

A bit of stratification (for four to six weeks of marshmallow seeds in damp peat moss) renders remarkable germination. After stratifying the seeds, they should be broadcasted upon the arrival of spring. The soil must be kept moist until the germination kicks in.

The seeds or cuttings must be spaced at least 20 inches apart to provide them with the amount of space they require for proper growth.

The highly valued marshmallow seeds take around 14 to 21 days to sprout. After sprouting, the seeds germinated into a small plant with scalloped leaves.

Marshmallow steps into blooming space upon the arrival of June and continues with the task healthily till September. The plant has proven to be hermaphrodite and its flowers invite bees to carry out pollination.

Pollination is subsequently followed by fertilization that accounts for seedpods formation. These seedpods hold the promise of further propagation of the lifecycle.

Harvest

Marshmallow leaves are harvest after the flowering season has come to an end. The roots of this highly respected plant are harvest in late fall, before the advent of snowfall.

Marshmallow leaves and roots are highly celebrated among the mortals, and so they are harvested zealously by a sharp pair of shears.

The roots and leaves of marshmallow plants are dried to be stored for later usage. The roots are washed off thoroughly and dried. They can be dried by using an oven or dehydrator. Once the roots become brittle and snap upon breaking, they are broken off into small pieces and stored in an airtight jar.

Usage

In raw form, its leaves and flowers are used as poultices for bruised and irritated skin. The parts of Marshmallow plants are used frequently in making various medicinal forms.

Tincture- Dried marshmallow roots are soaked in 50% alcohol for 3 to 4 weeks. The roots are then strained and discarded to yield a clear marshmallow tincture.

  • Tea - Infuse dried marshmallow roots in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Decoction - Dried marshmallow roots or leaves are decocted in boiling water for an hour or so to formulate the marshmallow decoction.
  • Salve - Marshmallow infused oil is used to make a salve for dry skin.
  • Syrup - Dried marshmallow roots, water, and sugar are rolled to boil.
  • Infused oil - Dried marshmallow roots or leaves are simmered in a carrier oil of choice for about 8 hours. The oil is then strained to yield marshmallow infused oil.