Althaia comes from the Greek meaning Marsh mallow. Other names it is
known by are Althea, Cheeses, Mallards, Marshmallow, Mauls, Mortification
Root, Schloss Tea, Sweet Weed, Wymote, Guimauve (French).
Althea does best in full sun with a light, sandy, moist soil and will
grow in Zones 6-8. Sow the seeds in flats, indoors in early spring or
outdoors in summer as soon as all danger of frost has passed. When the
seedlings are a couple of inches tall, thin or transplant, allowing 12-18
inches between each plant. The Marshmallow can also be grown from root
divisions in the spring using a sharp knife to divide the root including a
bud in each piece. Harvest the leaves and tops of the plant before it
Althea has been in use for thousands of years. It was plentiful and
provided a food base in times of famine and was utilized for its healing
Both the ancient Egyptians and Chinese used some form of mallow as a food source. It is used to this day by the poor of Syria, Greece and Armenia who subsist on a diet made predominantly of herbs. In times of famine the Marshmallow has staved off starvation due to its great abundance in these areas. Boil Althea then fry with butter and onions to make the dish
Spiritual Properties and Uses in Magic
This herb has the power to alleviate harsh emotions such as fear, grief and anger. For those whose sympathy has left them feeling drained it will aid in the rebuilding of inner strength especially after working with healing. Using the essence of the Marshmallow will metamorhose these intense emotions into softness, love and compassion. It will provide one with a connection to the sensuality of existence and connect you to your roots within Mother Earth.
The Marshmallow is a psychic power stimulator and is used in protection rites. It can be ingested, burned as an incense or carried for these purposes.
Althea is a puller of spirits, in voodoo rituals it is used to bring good spirits into the area by placing it on the altar.
Make a doll of the flowers with toothpicks and let the children play in the garden with them...it will attract the faeries who will in turn bless your plants.
Healing Properties and Uses
Because of Althea's soothing qualites it is used for inflammations, external as well as internal. The confectionary paste, Paet, de guimauve, is prepared by French druggists for soothing a sore chest and for coughs and hoarseness.
The 'marshmallows' sold in the United States are a mixture of flour, gum, sugar, and egg white and contain no mallow.
The root of Althea is a highly nutritive tonic herb, whose softening and emollient qualities are due to a high content of mucilage. For lung ailments one can combine it with such herbs as licorice, comfrey or elecampane and it can be added to formulas to aid the kidneys and diurectics.
It is also useful in the treatment of stomach ulcers, tuberculosis and difficult or painful urination. Marshmallow can also be used in a poultice to relieve external infections and inflammations.