Althea is derived from
the Greek word
"to heal"; officinalis designates plants with medicinal use,
and is derived from the Latin officina, originally the name
for a work- or store-room in a monastery.
the Greek malake, "soft," which also gives us the name for
the plant genus Malva. Mersc is Old
English for "marsh," where this plant often grew. Our color name, "mauve,"
also has its roots in the word malva. Today the French
make a lovely, marshmallow-like confection known as Guimauve.
Hoc, Welsh for
"mallow," is retained in hollyhock -- "holy hoc" -- a familiar
mallow still seen in modern gardens.
The confection we call marshmallow
(which no longer has any ingredients taken from the marsh mallow
plant at all)
had its origins as a medicine used to treat mouth and throat
irritation and disorders of the GI tract.
Mallows were also used for food, eaten as greens or cooked in soups
and stews. The Romans used
marsh mallow root to thicken barley soup, as well as in a stuffing
for roast pig.
Gif mon biŽ on
Žonne beoŽ him
Ža hand nęglas wonne 7 Ža eagan tearige 7 wile locian niŽer.
do him wiŽ to
lęcedome . eofortŽrote . cassuc . fone nioŽoweard . eowberige .
elehtre . eolone . merscmealwan crop .
fen minte .
dile . lilie . attorlaŽe . polleie . marubie . docce . ellen .
terre . wermod .
leaf . consolde .
ealaŽ . do halig węter
to sing wiŽ gealdor ofer Žruwa .
Se binne awrat
swa benne ne
burnon ne burston
ne wundian ne
ne hoppetan ne
wund waco sian .
ne dolh diopian
ac him self
healde hale węge
ne ace Že Žon
eorŽan on eare
manegum siŽum .
eorŽe Že on
hire mihtum 7
Žas galdor mon
If someone has the water-elf pox,
then are the nails of his hands
dark, and the eyes tear and
will gaze downward.
Give him this as a treatment:
boarthroat (carline thistle), hassock grass, iris
root, yew berry, lupin,
helenium, marshmallow flowers,
fen mint, dill, lily, cocks-spur grass,
pennyroyal, horehound, dock, elderberry,
strawberry leaf, comfrey.
Pour ale over them, give holy water,
sing this charm over them thrice:
I have wreathed
the best healing wreathes,
So sores may not burn nor burst,
Nor wound nor fester,
Nor throb nor wound awaken,
Nor infection deepen,
but himself hold healthy ways
Nor pain that then more than
earth on ear aches.
Sing this many times forcefully:
Earth bear on you with all
her might & main.
These charms one may sing
Vyldemalwe is clepid holy hocke, and in latin we clepen here altea,
for she wexiŽ
and sum men clepyn here euysca, for her rote handelyd semeŽ
to be moist as a maner of
lyme. Some men clepin
Že wilde malowe.
Macer Floridus, c. 1150 CE
Wild mallow is
called holy hock,
and in Latin we call her althea,
for she grows
to a height,
and some people call her hibiscus,
for her root,
seems to be
moist like a kind of
call this the wild
Macer Floridus, c. 1150 CE