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These plants, funghi and insect illustrations
are part of my botanical oracle deck

Althaea officinalis | Marshmallow

Botanical Overview of Marshmallow

  • Scientific Name: Althaea officinalis

  • Common Names: Marshmallow, Marsh Mallow, Althea

  • Family: Malvaceae

  • Description: A perennial herb with soft, velvety leaves and pale pink to white flowers. It grows up to 1.5 meters tall and has a thick, mucilaginous root.

althaea officinalis botanical illustration

Properties of Marshmallow

  • Chemical Constituents: Mucilage, flavonoids, polysaccharides, pectin, and starch.

  • Edibility: The root, leaves, and flowers are edible. The root is commonly used in herbal teas, syrups, and lozenges.

Distribution and Habitat of Marshmallow

  • Native Range: Native to Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa.

  • Preferred Habitat: Thrives in damp, marshy environments, such as riverbanks, marshes, and moist meadows.

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Marshmallow

  • Traditional Uses: Known for its soothing, demulcent, and emollient properties. Traditionally used to treat sore throats, digestive issues, and skin irritations.

  • Modern Applications: Commonly used in herbal remedies for coughs, colds, and gastrointestinal inflammation. Applied topically to soothe skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.

Magical Correspondences and Uses of Marshmallow in Magical Practice

  • Element: Water

  • Planet: Venus

  • Magical Properties: Protection, love, fertility, and health.

  • Uses: Marshmallow is used in spells for protection and to attract love and fertility. It can be included in sachets, baths, and incense to promote health and well-being. The plant is also associated with feminine energy and can be used in rituals honoring goddesses.

Folklore, Legends, and Mythology of Marshmallow

  • Historical Context: Marshmallow has been used medicinally since ancient Egyptian times, where it was considered a delicacy and a healing plant.

  • Folklore: In medieval Europe, marshmallow was believed to ward off evil spirits and protect against diseases. It was often planted near homes to bring good fortune and health.

  • Mythology: Associated with the goddess Aphrodite in Greek mythology, marshmallow was used in love potions and amulets to invoke her favor.

Historical Literary Sources

  • Dioscorides' "De Materia Medica": Describes the use of marshmallow for treating wounds and inflammations.

  • Hildegard of Bingen's "Physica": Discusses the medicinal properties of marshmallow and its applications in medieval herbal medicine.


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