Marshmallow root, or Althaea officinalis, is a flowering plant that has played a role in herbal medicine for centuries. It is a perennial species indigenous to Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. A confection made from the root since ancient Egyptian times evolved into today’s marshmallow treat, but most modern marshmallow treats no longer contain any marsh-mallow root.
Flowers, leaves, and root are edible. The marshmallow plant has a history of use in herbal medicine. It is beneficial for so many ailments from stomach upset, constipation, sore throat, bronchial spasms, and even bruises, cuts, and scrapes.
Growing Marshmallow from Seed
Marshmallow is a perennial and grows up to 3 or 4 feet tall, if given plenty of water, so plan for its height, to avoid shadowing smaller plants. The seeds need to be stratified by exposing them to cold, damp conditions. In mild winter areas you can plant in the fall to get blossoms in the following summer. In harsh winter areas, plant in the early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked. Marshmallow seeds will germinate as the soil warms up. Keep it well weeded and mulched.