We moved our Marshmallow plant this Spring, into a sunny, moist spot beside the shadehouse, where it gets regular watering. It is obviously very happy there, as it is towering a good 3m. tall, & looking very lush, it’s original habitat was damp meadows & salt marshes.

It’s latin name derives from ‘altho’ to cure, & officinalis is an indicator that it has a long history of use as a medicinal plant. It’s roots can be harvested & dried in Autumn when the stems die down, they are best cleaned by brushing rather than washing. Slice them finely & spread in a thin layer, in a warm, shady place to dry. Check that they don’t go mouldy. Once dry, they can be stored in an airtight container, out of the light.

A tea made from the roots is soothing for digestive problems, including acid stomach, gastritis & irritable bowel syndrome. A tea of the leaves soothes cystitis, & relieves dry coughs, catarrh & other lung complaints. I once made tea from the roots but it was the consistency of wallpaper paste & I couldn’t swallow it, no doubt if I’d been sick enough I would have persevered! I do use the leaves of Marshmallow or WildMallow in a tea mix whenever I get a sore throat or cold.

Marshmallow Althea officinalis

The lovely flowers can be crushed, or used in a warm tea to soothe skin irritations, & inflammation. A peeled stick of root is a traditional teething remedy.