Sunday, February 10, 2013

Marshmallow as ancient medical herbs

The historic roots of marshmallows are literally the roots of a plant: the marsh mallow, Althaea officinalis.

It is soothing, healing herb and it is frequently used in medicine, a decoction of the root having been prescribed for asthma, bronchitis, hoarseness and to relieve inflammations and gastritis.

Botanical name, Althaea is derived from the Greek, althe which means ‘to cure’. The plant consecutively impressed ancient Greeks and Arabs. It then made its way into Indian Ayurvedic tradition.

It was ancient Egyptians who are the first documented consumers of marshmallow. 4000 years ago, the Egyptian enjoyed a treat made from the mallow plant which oddly enough grew in the marshes of Egypt.

It was not native to Egypt but was introduced from Syria.

Egyptians doctors used honey and the sap of the marshmallow plant in medicines, especially in remedies such as medicinal wines used to treat sore throat.

Marshmallow candy us among the world’s oldest candy and dates back to 2000 BC. Ancient Egyptians could have been the first to invent marshmallow candy, since they united the slimy root with honey.

It was used in Persian to reduce inflammation in teething babies.

The emperor Charlernagne (742-814 AD) appreciated marshmallow and order it to be cultivated.

The word mallow can refer to any a variety of plants of the genus Malva. Mallow comes from Old English mealwe, possibly influenced in its development by Old French malve. Both English and Old French words ultimately descend from Latin malva, mallow.
Marshmallow as ancient medical herbs
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