Marshmallows had a medicinal use? Who knew!
Marshmallows came from the sweet sap of the “Mallow” plant in salty marshes near large bodies of water and grow to 2-4 ft. high. Hence, MARSH + Mallow=Marshmallow!
The ancient Egyptians used the mallow root for making their candied delicacies for their Gods, Nobility and Pharaohs over 2000 years ago. Since it was a crime for anyone else to eat this sugar like treat, children looked to honey and figs to cure their sweet tooth.
Egyptian marshmallows were a mixture of sap, honey, grains and baked into cakes. The Romans and the Greeks loved the Mallow plant; they believed that brewed mixtures of the Mallow sap cured sore throats. The sugar mixture was found among Hippocrates medical treatments. During the 15th and 16th centuries marshmallow liquids were given as treatments for toothaches, coughs, sore throats, indigestion and diarrhea. It was even believed to have been used as a love potion at this time.
It was the French during the 1800’s that changed the use of the of the Mallow plant from mainly medicinal to more of a consumed by adults. French shop owners discovered that cooking and whipping marshmallow sap with egg whites and corn syrup created an easily mouldable substance. This is where the marshmallow as we know it today was born.