marshmallow

Marshmallow: is rich in mucilage which acts to soothe and protect tissues in the body ...

Common Names: Mallow, Marsh Mallow, althea

Botanical Name: Althaea officinalis

Family: Malvaceae

Plant Type: Hardy perennial

Parts Used: Roots, leaves, and flowers

Flowering: July

Native to Europe and western Asia, marshmallow grows in moist to wet places, particularly salt marshes and coastal wetlands. It is naturalized in eastern North America and cultivated for medicinal purposes, primarily in Eastern Europe.

Description: Marshmallow is an erect perennial that grows to six feet in height. From a large, fleshy taproot arise wooly stems that bear greyish-green, velvety leaves. Five-petaled lilac-pink flowers are succeeded by round, downy fruits that contain one seed.

Cultivation: Marshmallow is easy to propagate from seed or by root division. It likes moist, light soil with a neutral pH in full sun. Marshmallow is a very hardy perennial which frequently grows wild and is found in damp, marshy conditions, by rivers and near the seaside.

Harvesting: Collect leaves in the summer after flowering, and dig up the root in late fall.

Culinary Uses: The mallow root was used to make the French candy, pâté de guimauve, which is the original "marshmallow." The confectionery today known as marshmallow bears no trace of the plant, but the name persisted due to the glutinous, mucilaginous quality of the main constituents. The root is also good lightly steamed and then fried with butter and onions. Add the tender young leaves to salads.

Mallow Magick

Love.Protection. Exorcism.

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Moon

Element: Water

Use a mallow ointment to protect against evil and cast out demons.

Place a bouquet of mallow in a vase in your window to attract a straying lover.

Herbal Healing with Marshmallow

Medicinal Actions: Anti-inflammatory, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, mucilaginous

Medicinal Uses: Marshmallow is a very soothing demulcent. It is useful where inflammation occurs in conditions of bronchitis, pleursy, and where there is a dry cough. Marshmallow root is particularly useful in the digestive system to help soothe and heal mouth and stomach ulcers, gastric inflammation from irritable bowel syndrome, enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine), and colitis (inflammation of the colon). Marshmallow leaf is more often used to treat respiratory problems such as bronchitis and sore throats, and irritable conditions of the urinary tract such as cystitis and urethritis. On the skin it can be used as a poultice for abscesses, abrasions, ulcers, and varicose veins.

Body Care with Marshmallow

A poultice of marshmallow can be made and used as a drawing paste or cream for stings, splinters and boils. It can also be used to counter irritation from insect bites.

Recipe for Drawing Paste

Equal parts of:

marshmallow root powder

slippery elm powder

water

First mix the powders with a cold liquid, either water or a tincture. Stir until a fine paste is created, then spread evenly on to the bandage and apply to affected area.

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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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