The ancient Egyptians extracted the marsh mallow’s (Althaea officinalis) sap by hand and mixed it with nuts and honey, a delicacy reserved for gods and royalty. The marsh-mallow root was once also an ingredient in the marshmallow treats that we now consume. In the 1800s, French candy makers combined the plant’s sap with egg whites and sugar. And like that, the sweet treat was available for everyone, not just gods and nobility. As demand increased, the labor-intensive process changed, and gelatin replaced marsh-mallow sap.
It has also been used for thousands of years as a folk remedy to treat digestive, respiratory, and skin conditions. Even today, in traditional medicine, the mucilage mixed with water forms a slick gel that coats the throat and stomach to reduce irritation when taken internally, and it soothes chapped skin when applied externally. Boiling the flowers in oil and water and adding honey makes a gargle for sore throats.
It’s also a magical herb that’s burned as an incense to cleanse inside and out. You can gain protection against demons and spells by anointing yourself with oil in which the plant’s leaves and flowers have been steeped. Besides cleansing and protection, the herb is a favorite of benevolent spirits. You can call on them for help by keeping a jar of the marsh-mallow root and a dish of water on your altar. In addition, the plant is associated with deities of love and beauty, making it a practical herb for fertility and attraction spells. If you gather the seeds under a full moon and add them to sachets and love powders, you can fight infertility and impotence. Putting a vase of the flowers on your windowsill will help a wandering love return home. Marsh mallow also has an association with death and rebirth, and the herb is used in rituals for the dead. In addition, it is planted near graves, and its flowers decorate graves to honor the deceased.
Our book 77½ Magical Healing Herbs provides much more information about the magical and healing properties of herbs, the ones used in the Eniovden (Midsummer’s Day) wreath, plus much more… You can get the book here: https://77-1-2-herbs.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders
If you’d like to learn more about Baba Yaga, we are running a Kickstarter campaign during the month of October, starting on October 4. This will be part of the “Witchstarter” program that Kickstarter is promoting. Along with our campaign, you’ll find all kinds of witchy items to browse through. We’ll be sharing many of these with you in our weekly newsletter, so be sure to follow along.
You can get a preview of our Baba Yaga campaign here. We welcome your feedback.
If you’ve never logged into Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. But then, you’ll have access to all the great projects going on every day, not just for the Witchstarter program.