Marshmallows (Althaea Officinalis or Marsh Mallow) originally grew in salty soils but now thrive in the moist, uncultivated ground such as marshes and swamps in Great Britain, Southern and Western Europe, Western Asia, and Northeastern North America.
The name Althaea comes from the Greek altho, 'to cure,' and Malvaceae comes from the Greek Malake, 'soft'. It was used to decorate friends' graves in the time of Dioscorides. Althaea Officinalis has been used for centuries as a food by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Syrians, and Chinese and as a medicine by the early Arabian physicians who used it as a poultice made from its leaves and applied to the skin to reduce inflammation.
Marshmallow root extract is rich in asparagine, pectin, starch, sugars, tannins, and volatile oil, with excellent antioxidant, moisturizing and soothing properties. Manufacturers add Marsh Mallow extract in skincare formulation for its anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, demulcent, and emollient action. In addition, Althaea extract is helpful for chapped skin, minor wounds, and inflammation and swelling caused by insect bites and stings.