Generally growing near the sea, by river estuaries and in salt marshes, Marsh mallow is a sprawling plant growing to about 1 metre high. It has large lobed leaves and the leaves and stem are covered in a soft down. It flowers late in summer presenting pale pink flowers which are followed by round flat fruits. The roots are cream coloured.
Young marshmallow leaves can be eaten in salads, the older leaves can be added to soups. The root can be boiled and fried and the seeds are also edible. The root was once a main ingredient in confectionery, but is no longer used for this purpose. It is a soothing, healing herb that has use in treating respiratory problems and digestive problems. The root contains large amounts of mucilage and can be used as a decotion. The leaves can also be made into a tea that can be drunk and also used as a soothing eye bath. Crushed fresh leaves or root can be used as a hot poultice for inflammations, sprains, stings and aching muscles.Asparagus is an edible delicacy and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Marshmallow grows from seed planted in punnets or sowed directly in full sun or part shade. It may also be propogated from cuttings or division of the clump. It likes moist soil and will tolerate salty conditions. Marshmallow dies down in autumn and the stems should be pruned back prior to spring growth. The root should be harvested in autumn
Marshmallow Decotion – Take one spoonful, 3 times a day
Soak 100g/40z dried root overnight in 3 litres of water. Boil until reduced but nearly half and strain.