Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow Plant
Marshmallow Plant

I have had a few people ask recently about marshmallow root (an ingredient in my shampoo bar) so I thought I should write about it. With some of the strange food items I add to my soap recipes I can see how one might believe that I was buying a bag of the fluffy, sweet, white treats and somehow turning them into soap. But the truth is, while I, my husband, our dogs, and our chickens all love marshmallows, they are an ingredient that I really can’t imagine would work well as soap. I would however mix them with Rice Crispies and tell you something like “eat it!” or “don’t wash with it”.

The marshmallow root that I am using is from the marshmallow plant (Althaea officinalis) that we grow on our farm. I have found it not only to be a very attractive plant, but very prolific, and the honey bees like it as well. This link describes the medicinal uses of marshmallow. I have yet to try any of these uses but likely will in the future. Besides the medicinal uses I have learned that marshmallows, the sweet treat were originally made from the root of this plant, and I intend to try this recipe when we dig more marshmallow root.

2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1 tbsp powdered Marshmallow (root)

Whip egg whites until almost stiff. Add vanilla and whip until stiff. Then whip in the sugar, 1 tsp at the time. Finally, add Marshmallow and whip again. Place by teaspoonful on cookie sheet. Bake in 325 oven for 1 hour.

I decided to try adding it to my shampoo bar after reading that it is often used in “natural” hair conditioning products. So when I made my soap/shampoo recipe I first infused the liquid, in this case tea, with marshmallow root that I had dug up, dried, and ground last fall. After the root had infused and thickened the liquid I strained the solids (root pieces) out before combining the liquid with the lye to make the soap. I have to say I am very pleased with this as a soap/shampoo bar and other people have told me they like it as well.

So like most of the ingredients I use in my skin care products this marshmallow is certainly edible, but when using this soap remember “Don’t Eat It!”

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