Marshmallow Seed Pack

By Earthsong Seeds

  • £2.25


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Marshmallow Seed Pack

Product description

1 pack of Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) seeds. Minimum 100 seeds per pack. A UK native perennial with mucilaginous roots used by herbalists for relieving dry coughs and irritable digestion, or for making a comforting herbal tea to relax an agitated mind.

Relieving dry cough and upset and irritable digestion. As its primary mucilage ingredient is sensitive both to heat and alcohol it is best taken as a powder or extracted in cold or warm (not hot) water. You can expect almost immediate relief as the effect is almost entirely from the physical properties of the mucilage on the mucosal lining of the upper digestive system. The effect on the airways is likely to be due to consequent reflex action on tissues of the respiratory system. Marshmallow contains over 10% mucilage which acts as its primary therapeutic constituent. Externally, the marshmallow mucilage can draw fluid and toxicity from wounds and infections. In small dosages, mucilaginous compounds restrain the peristaltic action within the gut and work well to promote an antidiarrheal action. In larger dosages, they can promote a gentle laxative effect.

Marshmallow is a herb that benefits from some stratification to break the seed’s dormancy. This can be done in two ways; either sow the seed directly outdoors in the autumn or cold-moist stratify (mix the seed with moist sand, seal in a bag and store in the fridge) for 3-4 weeks before sowing indoors in the spring. Sowing outdoors is a good method if you have a lot of seed, but if you only have a small amount, probably best to follow the second method. If stratification sounds like too much effort, don’t worry – you should still get some germination from non-stratified seed but you may get a lower germination rate. Pot up as soon as the seedlings have grown its true leaves then plant out when it has grown to around 4-6 inches. Its affinity for dampness makes it a good herb to grow in heavy clay soils, although it does seem to tolerate most soil types. It can grow in full sunshine or partial shade.

You can harvest the soft leaves throughout the summer whenever they ‘feel right’; when the leaves feel like velvet and have a bit of ‘give’- this is usually when they are a couple of feet tall until flowering starts to go over. Pick the leaves off individually, discarding any damaged leaves or rust. Dry them thoroughly and store in an airtight container for soothing cups of tea. Harvest the roots in their second - or better still, their third year. Then give them a careful wash so as not to break the skin and release the mucilage. Slice into 0.5cm slices, lay out on a drying rack and place somewhere warm or in a dehumidifier at 42C for at least a day. The best way to enjoy Marshmallow is to infuse 6–15 g/day of dried leaf or root in cold water for a couple of hours: the mucilage can withstand temperatures only up to 60C. Strain this and enjoy the experience of drinking pure Althean silk. Make a soothing cough syrup with Marshmallow.