Tag Archives: herbal remedies

Marshmallow Marshmallows

23 Feb

Okay, so this recipe is not a fermentation.  I feel that it’s a worthy addition to this blog’s subject matter though, since I’ve touched so frequently on herbalism.  I’ve been curious about the discrepancy between marshmallow the herb and marshmallow candy for some time. Same name, very different thing! A little research will tell you that the original marshmallow candy was, in fact, made with the mucilaginous sap of the marshmallow plant, and the candy was first developed as a kind of ancient variation on the cough drop, since marshmallow herb is soothing to sore throats. The Egyptians combined marshmallow sap with honey, nuts, and grains.

Marshmallow image from riversidegarden.wordpress.com

The French turned marshmallows into a confection in the 1800s, whipping it into egg whites, much like a merengue. Eventually, marshmallow root was replaced by gelatin because of practical concerns, aka, money. Marshmallow root is much more expensive these days than gelatin. The other thing you will find with modern marshmallows is that they are all made with corn syrup: an ingredient I’d rather avoid.  I searched a while to find a marshmallow I’d rather eat, and I came across a recipe at herbmentor.com that combines marshmallow with rose water and honey. This recipe doesn’t use the marshmallow as a binder anymore: gelatin is added to the mix as well. Not having any rose water on hand, I replaced changed the recipe a little and added some rose hips, which I find always go nicely with hibiscus that was already added to these marshmallows. My results were fluffy and a little fruity. Quite good, and very unique!


Marshmallow-Marshmallows with Hibiscus and Rose

Combine 1 c water with 1 T marshmallow root powder, 1 T dried hibiscus, and 1 T rose hips in a small saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let them cool in the fridge. When cool, strain the mixture and add more water so the liquid equals one cup.

Take 1/2 cup of your tea concoction and mix with 1 packet of gelatin in a medium bowl. Mix until well dissolved.

Put the other half in a small saucepan. Combine with 1 c honey, 1 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until your mixture reaches 230-240 degrees Fahrenheit. This is called the soft-ball temperature in candy-making terms. Use a cooking thermometer to keep track. I found that the temp is hard to keep low enough on my gas range– the mixture kept fizzing over, so you may have to babysit the process quite a bit.  A flame spreader might also come in handy to diffuse the heat.  This is the tedious part.

When your mixture is hot enough, slowly combine it with the gelatin mixture, mixing on low, using a whisk attachment on your mixer or hand-blender.  Once they are combined, mix on high for several minutes, until the whole mix is frothy. The color will be brown-pink-creamy.

Line an 8×8 pan with oiled parchment paper. Pour your mixture into the pan, and let it set at room temperature. You could also set them in the fridge. I’ve been storing mine in the refrigerator. If the mix didn’t totally emulsify, like mine, then you might end up with a thin glaze of honey on the bottom of your marshmallows.


A few days later: Marshmallows half eaten!


Benefits of Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis):

Marshmallow root is primarily wonderful as a demulcent, meaning that it creates a soothing film over mucus membranes.  This makes it useful for conditions like bronchitis, ulcers, or inflammations of the mouth.  It can be used on the skin for conditions like boils or abscesses as well.  Both the root and the leaf can be used.

Herbal Kombucha add-ins

14 Oct

I remember when I was first introduced to kombucha: Synergy’s Gingerberry flavor was my gateway drug, so to speak. Flavoring is certainly helpful if you want to convert a newbie to the kombucha club, as straight-up kombucha is an acquired taste. By the time you start making your own brews, you’ll probably already like kombucha enough that you don’t require extra flavoring, but it can be fun for variation. Also, herbs can give even greater therapeutic qualities to this already strong elixer of health.

Below are some of my favorite herbal add-ins. I add the herbs AFTER the initial fermentation process. I put them in when I’m bottling my kombucha, and then I put the bottled brew right into the fridge. Wait at least a day for the flavors to seep in from the herbs. You can also leave the bottles out at room temperature for a little while to speed absorption of the herbs into your brew– this will help your kombucha build up bubbles if you like it fizzy since the brew will continue to ferment, unhindered by the refrigeration process. Use about a teaspoon of most herbs for a pint bottle of kombucha, or vary your amounts to taste. You can also mix and match the flavors:


Hibiscus will make your kombucha turn a tempting red and develop a pleasant, fruity floral taste! This is the only type of kombucha that my skeptic boyfriend will drink– I think it’s the red flavor that draws him in. When you drink it, you can strain out the hibiscus as you pour it, or if you’re like me, you might like to eat the hibiscus pieces. Hibiscus is high in Vitamin C. It is also mildly diuretic and laxative. I personally find it very helpful in reducing phlegm. Research has indicated that hibiscus might also help lower blood pressure.


Elderberry: Get dried elderberries at your local herbal or health-food store. Put them in your kombucha. The brew turns purple! Elderberries are great for colds and the flu.

Rose hips: mildly fruity in flavor, these will add a boost of Vitamin C to your drink. They are another great way to boost your immune system against colds and infection. Also help with mild constipation and are a tonic for the gall-bladder.


Ginger: Grate or finely chop fresh ginger root and toss it in. Ginger helps to make more fizz. You can eat the ginger pieces or strain them out when serving. Ginger has a multitude of medicinal uses. It’s great as a digestive (promotes gastric secretions and tones the stomach) and for menstrual cramps and promoting menstruation. It is diaphoretic (aids the skin in eliminating toxins and promotes perspiration, therefore good for fevers), stimulant (particularly stimulates circulation)and is also indicated as soothing for sore throats.

Old Ways Herbal: Juliette Abigail Carr, RH (AHG)

Women & Children's Herbal Clinic, Vermont Herb School, & Ramblings on Family Herbal Wisdom


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