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January 2012
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Althaea officinalis, an ornamental and a medicinal plant belongs to the genus Althae.

Image of Althaea officinalis plant at Google

Althaea officinalis which is also known as (Marshmallow, Marsh Mallow, Marshmellow, or Common Marshmallow is a species that is native to Africa. This belongs to the genus Althae. It is used both as an ornamental and a medicinal plant.

The stems are about 3-4 feet in height and have lateral branches. The leaves are thick and petioled and round. They are 2 to 3 inches (76 mm) in length and about 1 1/4 inch in breadth. They are 3-5 lobed and toothed at the margin. The leaves are velvety on both sides due to presence of stellate hairs. The flowers are of pale color and stamens are in a tube. The flowers bloom from August to September. The roots are perennial and yellow in color outside and white within.

Medicinally, it has demulcent, expectorant, diuretic, and emollient properties. It is used to treat lung ailments, urinary problems like urethiritis and kidney stones. This is known to soothe bronchial tubes and treat constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.

The root is used to treat varicose veins, ulcers, abscesses, and boils. The root extract is used to flavor halva. It is used in cleaning carpets and vegetable dyes and in coloring carpet’s wool. It is grown in butterfly gardens.

This herb is used to treat mouth and throat ulcers. In culinary, they are used in salads and are boiled and fried. In cosmetics, it is used for skin treatment. It is used to treat digestive and skin inflammations, gastritis, peptic, enteritis, and colitis.

Growing/Caring conditions for Althae Officinalis:
– Plant Althae in sandy soil.
– Add 3 inches of sand to 6 inches of top soil and mix and then plant Althae for best results.
– Fertilize Althae with a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 fertilizer.
– Apply the fertilizer in spring and water well.
– Prune the plant in the spring for regrowth.
– This plant need full day of sunlight for blooming well.
– Shady locations need to be avoided for this plant.
– The plant spacing should be about 2 feet apart from each other.
– Prune in spring and remove long and damaged and diseased branches.
– If growing in a pot, water the plant thoroughly to help the roots establish.
– Keep the soil moist and this plant can tolerate consistent moist soil.
– Frequent fertilization may be needed during the growing season.

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