Fluffy, sweet, and full of air….no, not me…Marshmallows!

Fluffy, sweet, and full of air….no, not me…Marshmallows!

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Fluffy, sweet, and full of air, marshmallows as we know them are an unhealthy treat…..or so we were told.

What we do not realise, is that our favourite “sweeties”, originate from Althaea officicalis, a PLANT. Grown in Europe and western Asia, this plant grows up to 6 feet tall and have light pink flowers.  It is a member of the mallow family and grows in wet marshy areas…..ta-da….making marshmallows.

When did people start using this plant:  around 9th century BCE.

Who:  the Greeks.

How:  Made a balm from the sap and also grounded the leaves.

For what:  to heal wounds, soothe sore throats, toothaches, bee stings, used as Anti-inflammatory , a laxative, a treatment really for everything from upset stomachs to chest colds and insomnia.

The Ancient Egyptians were the first ones to make a sweet treat from the plant, when they combined marshmallow sap with nuts and honey. The dish bore no resemblance to today’s marshmallows, and was reserved for the nobility. The gods were supposedly big fans, as well.

So, what is the model of this story?  Eat more Marshmallows!

res@kli.co.za                       www.kli.co.za