Marshmallow (althaea officinalis) is more well-known as the sugary treat that it can be used to make than the plant itself. Marshmallow a.k.a. Marsh Mallow, is an ornamental and medicinal plant that is indigenous to Africa. Growing to be about 3-4 feet in height, this hardy perennial has attractive five-petaled pinkish-white flowers. Marshmallow leaves are used fresh or dried. They are eaten in salads, as vegetable or made as a tea. Marshmallow’s use as a medicinal herb has extended for thousands of years with applications that include asthma, bronchitis, colds, coughs, Crohn’s disease, heartburn, inflammatory bowel disease, sore throat, stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis. Most of these remedies are due to the mucilage found in the leaves and roots. This gelatinous substance has the ability to coat the digestive tract and throat. And it is this same substance that lends to the consistency of the sweet treat it can be made into. And it seems that the treat had its beginnings as a sore throat remedy. The evolution of the marshmallow appears to have begun with the Ancient Egyptians. But it was also influenced by the French who eventually replaced marshmallow mucilage with simple gelatin because gelatin was easier to acquire. But for vegans, you can still find suppliers that use this plant as the basis for their marshmallows.