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Herbs we love: Marshmallow


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Herbs we love: Marshmallow

We’re mad about marshmallow. No, not the pillowy sweets; we’re in love with Althea Officinalis, the perennial, hardy, herbaceous marshmallow plant that we grow at our eco factory gardens in Peacemarsh and use in some of our favourite products.

In 2002, our Melissa Hand Cream was one of four products certified under the UK’s first organic health and beauty standards by the Soil Association. Made with softening mallow extract and revitalising lemon balm to smooth, protect and condition dry skin, it remains a customer favourite.

What is marshmallow extract?

The truly stunning plant is loved by pollinators, too, thanks to its delicate, pink open flowers. Its leaves, soft like rabbits’ ears, are covered in tiny hairs creating a silvery appearance and velvety texture. Its pale roots are long and thick, burrowing deep underground and, when snapped, exude a gel-like substance called mucilage.

The beauty of softening marshmallow for skin

Treasured far beyond the Dorset countryside, marshmallow flowers, leaves, and roots have long been used in traditional herbal medicine – fitting because ‘Althea’ comes from the Greek word meaning “heal” or “stimulating the body’s own healing abilities”. In herbalism, it is usually the roots and leaves used in infusions or tinctures. Marshmallow is also a great addition to body lotions and creams, thanks to its cooling and soothing effect.

Pamper tired feet and keep skin supple with this soothing salve. A blend of almond and wheatgerm, calming comfrey and softening mallow nurtures dry, cracked heels and hard skin. For a more intensive treatment, apply before bed, slipping feet into a pair of socks and allowing the balm to soak in overnight.

We’re passionate about unleashing the power of natural and organic botanicals, so we’re always digging into external studies to discover the properties and benefits of our ingredients. Recently, we conducted an efficacy study on our unique, homegrown organic marshmallow tincture, which showed its effective exfoliating and cleansing capabilities.

Sown and grown at our Dorset eco factory

Native to Europe, western Asia and North Africa, the mallow plant prefers marshy, damp areas and wet coastlands. Over time, it has adapted to become so versatile that it will self-seed prolifically when happy, and in a garden, that means around moist, nutrient-rich soil in a sunny spot.

As its name suggests, Peacemarsh, where we home-grow our marshmallow, provides the perfect marshy environment for this plant to thrive. One autumn years ago, we sowed marshmallow seeds and planted young plants along a patch lining our garden’s quadrant, surrounded by roses and calendula. Each spring, the plant regrows, and, after two to three years of growth, we harvest the roots in late autumn and winter.

Picked, blended and bottled by us, for you

The beauty of our organically grown marshmallow is that it’s a zero-waste ingredient. We use it as a tincture or botanical extract in our skincare and to support wellbeing as a herbal tincture. Our gardeners dig the marshmallow roots, taking the ones they want and, thanks to the wonders of this perennial herb, replant any remaining roots to regrow. The chosen roots are washed, chopped and left to macerate in a mixture of organic alcohol and water for several weeks before being strained and pressed. The marc – the cake-like plant residue from pressing – goes onto the compost heap. As marshmallow can grow up to 7ft tall, our gardeners cut down top growth after harvesting in winter and add the cuttings to the compost heap.

For beautiful, buttery-smooth lips on the go, keep this organic herbal lip balm close at hand, made with replenishing shea nut butter, softening mallow and antioxidant-rich rosehip oil to nourish dry and chapped skin naturally.

Discover natural and organic products made with our homegrown marshmallow.

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