Common Marshmallow

(Althaea officinalis)

Other Names:


Malvaceae – Mallow family

Growth Type:
Perennial herbaceous plant

3 to 4ft tall

Leaves are shortly petioled, roundish, ovate-cordate, 2 to 3 in long, and about 1 1⁄4 inch wide, entire or three to five lobed, irregularly toothed at the margin, and thick. They are soft and velvety on both sides, due to a dense covering of stellate hairs.

Erect, sometimes sparsely branched

The roots are perennial, thick, long and tapering, very tough and pliant, whitish yellow outside, white and fibrous within.

Flower Season:
Summer through Autumn

Flower Appearance:
Flowers are distinct, regular, funnel shaped, with 5 distinct petals, and 3 - 5 partially united sepals. Often surrounded by several bracts. Flowers can be white to pink or lavender tinged. There are numerous stamens united to form a distinctive column around the pistil.

The ovary is positioned superior, and is chambered, and is the reason for the common name cheeses, as it resembles a wheel of cheese.

Miscellaneous characteristics:
This plant is very similar to common mallow. All plant parts are mucilaginous (slimy) when crushed between your fingers.

Growing in moist areas

Parts Used:
Entire plant

Wild Food Uses:
The flowers and young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The root of this plant was originally used to make marshmallows. In the middle east it is till used as flavoring for a confection.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:
Marshmallow is higher in mucilage than common mallow. It is traditionally used for irritation of mucous membranes, including use as a gargle for mouth and throat ulcers and gastric ulcers. The root can be made into a tea, or chewed to ease sore throats.

Medicinal Actions:
Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Demulcent, Emollient, Expectorant, Pectoral, Stomachic

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