The History of Marshmallows is Rooted in Plant Medicine
Updated: Jan 22
Ever wonder where those tasty marshmallows came from? From rice crispy treats to potato souffle and a cup of cocoa with marshmallows on top, it used to be a medicinal treat!
Now, the texture, ingredients, flavor, and shelf life has changed, it's inspiration came from the Romans, Greeks, and other ancient peoples that were known to feast on it for soothing coughs and calming digestive upset in babies. It wasn't until the French turned marsh mallow the plant into marshmallow the confection!
Marsh Mallow, Althaea officinalis, belongs to the large and benevolent mallow family. Ever had okra? Okra is known for its slimy texture when exposed to high heat. This is because of the high percentage of mucilage found in plants from this family. Marsh Mallow roots mixed in water, creates a sweet mucilaginous gel that marsh mallow is so famous for. It's sweet flavor and its rich mucilaginous properties is a popular medicine for soothing all manner of inflamed tissue. Check out my Marsh Mallow blend for upper respiratory issues called Respiratory Tonic Tea.
Marsh mallow is great because It is specific in treating inflamed and irritated tissues of the respiratory system, digestive system, and skin, and particularly useful for soothing irritation and inflammation in the bowel. It's well known for soothing actions on the bladder and kidneys and is an important ingredient in many formulas for treating bladder and kidney infections. It also helps neutralize excess acid in the stomach, making it useful in cases of stomach ulcer.
So with all this medicinal talk, I want to end it on a fun note! Earlier I had mentioned that the French turned marsh mallow the plant into marshmallow the confection. Well what they did was cook the gummy juices of the roots with eggs and sugar, then whipped the mixture until light and airy. This thick, sweet, mucilaginous confections was popular for colds and flu to loosen up phlegm . Over time, the plant extracts were replace with gelatin and the sugar with corn syrup. This is what started the popular gummy white marshmallow that is found across the board at most grocers and is a staple at campfires and cookouts!
I have made homemade marshmallows using marsh mallow root combined with flavorless beef gelatin and honey. I have to say, it tastes amazing and not mention it was just fun to make.
If you're interested in my marshmallow products I have my Respiratory Tonic Tea and my Lucid Dreamer. I love the taste in both of these teas, and I don't have a favorite, but for phlegm I go for my Tonic Tea and for astral travels I always choose my Lucid dreaming tea. Best ever!
Health begins at home.