Ingredients > Althea Officinalis

Althea Officinalis: Top Health Benefits For A Healthy Lifestyle

What Is Althea Officinalis?

You may know the perennial herbaceous plant Althaea officinalis by its more common name: marshmallow. It is of the Malvaceae (or mallow) family. The flowering perennial plant is indigenous to eastern Europe and parts of northern Africa.1

Over the years, though, it has also been cultivated throughout North America. You can often find the plant in marshy environments, incredibly close to the ocean (Althea officinalis is also called “marsh mallow”).2

Althea officinalis, or the marshmallow plant, has distinctly veined heart-shaped leaves. The flowers are often blueish, white, or pinkish in color, and their stalks can stand up to 6 feet tall. The stalks are also around 2 inches in diameter. Of course, the root was once used to make a favorite confection: old-fashioned marshmallows.3

Many refer to the plant as a common weed as it can hug the ground. The flowers are small and have five petals that form a sort of cup shape. The whole plant is kind of slimy. It has a gooey sap due to its bioadhesive and mucilaginous polysaccharide content.4,5

History Of Althea Officinalis

In France, the marshmallow confection was created from the root of the Althea officinalis plant. Think of it as one of the world’s first supplements. The French called the soft candy “pate de guimauve.” Today, the sweet treat goes by the name marshmallow. What we think of as modern marshmallows do not actually contain Althea.6,7

Throughout history, the Althea officinalis plant has gone by many other names, including:

  • Marshmallow
  • Cheese plant
  • Mortification root
  • Sweet weed
  • French: Guimauve
  • Spanish: Malvaisco
  • Greek: Iviscus
  • Peruvian: Altea
  • Turkish: Hatmi8


Sources
1 https://www.britannica.com/plant/marsh-mallow
2 https://www.britannica.com/plant/marsh-mallow
3 https://www.britannica.com/plant/marsh-mallow
4 https://online.snh.cc/files/2100/HTML/100hs_marshmallow__althaea_officinalis.htm
5 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874109006102
6 http://www.ndhealthfacts.org/wiki/Althea_officinalis
7 http://www.ndhealthfacts.org/wiki/Althea_officinalis
8 http://www.ndhealthfacts.org/wiki/Althea_officinalis

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