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What does marshmallow root tea taste like?  

A sweet, woody flavor, the marshmallow root tea makes an interesting blend and is great on its own. I like to add a little sweetener, but that’s personal choice. The texture is smooth, as marshmallow has a high mucilage content, and thickens when cool.

 

What does the marshmallow plant look like?

The marshmallow plant, or Althaea officinalis, is a relative of the hollyhock, with pastel-colored, papery flowers. The plant, especially its roots, have a sticky substance that once gave the marshmallow its taste and texture. Today, the root is widely available as tea: the mucilage is like a syrup in hot water but thickens into a sweet gel when cool.

 

What does marshmallow for the body?

Marshmallows are no mere fun food but one of humanities’ earliest confections. They originated from the root of the marsh-mallow plant, an herb of the mallow family which, no surprise, grows in marshes. Ancient Egyptians boiled and mixed the root with honey to create a dense, cake-like confection reserved for the gods and royalty. But the true value of the marshmallow was its medicinal qualities. The root contains a gel-like mucilage that was said to soothe sore throats, gastrointestinal inflammation, stomach ulcers and, even, work as a laxative, among other qualities.

 

What don’t we use the marshmallow plant today?

As delicious as the marshmallow was as a confection, it was replaced by instant gelatin in the mid-1800s. The mucilage just made it too sticky and temperamental for people to make at home.

 

Marshmallow Tea Recipes

As a tea, the marshmallow lives on, enjoyed for its flavor, health benefits, and history. As a sweet – not so much, but we DO have vintage marshmallow recipes from Eleanor Parkinson’s book “The Complete Confectioner” published in in 1864 if you want to give it a try. PLEASE – let us know if you do!

For marshmallow tea, here’s the easy route:

  • Place one or two teaspoons of marshmallow root in a cup of hot water. Let steep about 10-minutes. Add sweetener and drink while warm. The tea will grow thicker when cooled.

Here’s Another Option – A Bit Harder:

Place the mixture in a covered jar and let sit overnight. Enjoy the drink with honey or other sweetener or as is.

 

Truly Old Time Marshmallow Recipes

from Eleanor Parkinson in 1864

If you want to give this recipe a try, you may need to cut the quantities to size. Remember early cookbooks were written for domestics in the homes of the well-to-do or for the homemaker herself (aka “Woman of the House”) so she could manage the staff. The quantities might need to be adjusted for today’s smaller size of friends and family.

 

  • Marshmallow Lozenges. “Marshmallow roots in powder one pound, or slice the root and make a strong decoction, in which you dissolve the gum, fine sugar four pounds. Mix into a paste. If six drops of laudanum be added, with two ounces of liquorice, the pectoral quality of these lozenges will be improved. Good for obstinate coughs.”

 

  • Syrup of Marshmallows — Sirop de Guimauve “Fresh mallow roots eight ounces, water one quart, sugar three pounds. Cleanse the roots, and slice them; make a decoction (See Decoctions), boiling it a quarter of an hour, so as to obtain the mucilage of the root; strain, and finish as wormwood. One ounce of liquorice-root and one ounce of white maidenhair, with a few stoned raisins, may be added.”