Marshmallows Were Originally Made From Marshmallow Plant Roots

by AngelaJohnson

There really is a marshmallow plant and marshmallow candy used to be made from its roots. Marshmallow plants usually grow in swamps and marshlands in the wild.

Marshmallows we eat today contain NO marshmallow root or sap. Today's commercially made marshmallows are usually made of sugar, corn syrup, water, gelatin, dextrose, vanilla flavorings and sometimes egg whites.

Marshmallows are used in S'mores, Moon Pies, Marshmallow Peeps, Mallomars, Scooter pies, Rice Krispies treats, Whippets, Nabisco Marshmallow Sandwiches, Rocky Road ice cream, hot chocolate, candied yams, gelatin salads and desserts, and more.

Marshmallow Fluff is used to make The Fluffernutter, a marshmallow fluff and peanut butter sandwich and Marshmallow Creme is used to make Fantasy Fudge. Marshmallow Fluff and Creme are used in many other recipes, too .

In the 1984 movie, "Ghostbusters," there was a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And there is a song titled, "It's a Marshmallow World."

About the Marshmallow Plant

The Marshmallow Plant (Althaea officinalis)

marshmallow plantThe marshmallow plant (Althaea officinalis) is not the same as the common mallow plant (Malva sylvestris).

Around 2000 B.C, the Egyptians used the marshmallow plant’s root sap and mixed it with honey to make a candy.

Marshmallow candies made from the root sap were first made in France in the mid -1800s.  The candy mixture was heated and poured into small molds. This process was time consuming, which made the candy an expensive treat.

Marshmallow has a thick, sticky consistency similar to the okra plant.  Made into a candy, doctors often offered it to children to soothe their sore throats.

Eventually, marshmallow root sap was replaced by other binding agents such as gum arabic and gelatin. Without the sap, the candy no longer had healing properties.

In 1948, a marshmallow manufacturer named Alex Doumak created the “extrusion process” which piped marshmallow mixture though long tubes, and then cut into equal sized pieces.  Marshmallows could now be made much more quickly and were then sold commercially. 

Image from Wikipedia

Nature's Way Marshmallow Root (COG), 480 mg 100 Capsules

Nature's Way Marshmallow Root (COG)

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Nature's Answer Alcohol-Free Marshmallow Root, 1-Fluid Ounce

Nature's Answer Marshmallow Root promotes a healthy throat

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Marshmallow Leaf and Root Tea 24 Bags

This light green tea has a very agreeable, mellow taste.. This herb has been used for centuries and was advocated by Hypocrities as a food in times of famine.

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About Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root as a healing herb was mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, written over 2,800 years ago.

Marshmallow root has also been used as a food, particularly during times of famine where it is found in more abundance than other vegetables. 

"Marshmallow leaf and root are used for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract. They are also used for dry cough, inflammation of the lining of the stomach, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, constipation, urinary tract inflammation, and stones in the urinary tract."

Information from WebMD

Traditional Marshmallows

Traditional Marshmallows
Traditional Marshmallows

A 1920s Recipe for Making Marshmallows

The following recipe for making marshmallows is from:

The Home Comfort Cook Book, published by the Wrought Iron Range Co. St. Louis, U.S.A.

There is no copyright date, but it could be 1925 based on the date of the newest model of cooking range featured in the front of this book

Marshmallow Recipe

1 box Knox’s gelatine
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cover granulated sugar with one cup water, cover pan and set aside for 30 minutes. Soak gelatine in 12 tablespoons water. Put sugar and water on range and cook until it threads; pour syrup over soaked gelatine. Thoroughly mix and add vanilla to taste. Beat briskly and thoroughly for about 30 minutes.

Dust dough board and rolling pin with corn starch or powdered sugar, and roll the mass out to about one-inch thickness.

Cut into one-inch squares and roll in the half cups of powdered sugar and cornstarch mixed and sifted together.

photo credit for traditional marshmallows image above

How to Make Marshmallows Like a Pro

Do You Like to Roast Marshmallows Over a Fire?

Roasting Marshmallow Over a Fire
Roasting Marshmallow Over a Fire

RC Cola and MoonPies

moon pieThe original MoonPie is 3 inches in diameter and made of two round graham cracker cookies that have marshmallow filling between them. The MoonPie is then dipped in chocolate or other flavors. There are also double-decker and mini MoonPies.

The Origin of MoonPies

Around 1917, marshmallow creme was introduced to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The nearby coal mine company stores started selling it and the miners began dipping graham crackers into it.

Earl Mitchell, Sr., a Chattanooga Bakery salesman in the area, soon saw that the only sales he made were for graham crackers. He told M.P. (Mitchell Poe) Shauf, the general foreman and chef for the bakery the reason for his low sales and about the popularity of graham crackers and marshmallow creme. Shauf decided to make a pastry for the miners to buy.

After several experiments, he made a pie with graham crackers and marshmallow creme, dipped in chocolate. That same day, his grandson was visiting him at the bakery. He offered him a pie to taste and when he saw the small indentations made where the marshmallow cream was cooked and bubbles had popped, he said it looked like the moon.

The miners on Mitchell’s sales route took to the Moon Pies right away.

RC (Royal Crown) Cola

RC Cola arrived in Tennessee in 1934. By the 1950s, you could buy a 16-ounce bottle of RC Cola and an 8-ounce MoonPie special for 10 cents. This special became a popular fast food lunch for the working man.

Every year on the third Saturday in June, Bell Buckle, Tennessee holds an RC / Moon Pie Festival.    Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce


Photo from Wikipedia

Recipe for Peppermint Icebox Cake

peppermint candyIngredients

12 marshmallows

3/4 cup crushed peppermint candy

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 pound vanilla wafers, crushed

1 chocolate candy bar, grated



Cut the marshmallows into small pieces and with the crushed peppermint candy, fold into the whipped cream. Then add the nuts.

Cover the bottom of a flat pan with most of the wafer crumbs. Then add the whipped cream and candy mixture. Spread a thin layer of crumbs over the top and sprinkle with the grated chocolate.

Cover the pan and chill for ten hours before serving. Serves six. 

Photo from flickr creative commons.

Fantasy Fudge Recipe using Kraft Marshmallow Creme

Recipe from

pan of fudgeThis is the original Fantasy Fudge recipe from the back of the Kraft Marshmallow Creme jar. 


3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
12-oz. (340 g) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
7-oz. (198 g) jar Kraft Marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine sugar, margarine and milk in a heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan;

Bring the mixture to full rolling bail, stirring it constantly.

Continue boiling 5 more minutes over medium heat, stirring often.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it melts.

Add the marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla; beating until blended.

Pour into a greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan, or use a smaller pan if you want thicker squares.

Let the fudge cool and then cut into 1-inch squares.

Fluffernutter Pie Recipe

Recipe from Marshmallow Fluff Online Yummybook


marshmallow fluff

Fluffernutter Pie

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup Marshmallow Fluff
  • 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 Chocolate Crumb Crust

In a medium saucepan combine 1/2 cup cold water and gelatin; let stand 1 minute. Cook stirring constantly, until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and remaining water. Beat in peanut butter and Fluff. Chill until mixture mounds when dropped from a spoon. Fold in whipped cream. Turn into the crust; chill until set. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

To make a Chocolate Crumb Crust:

20 Oreos
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Crush cookies to fine crumbs and combine with melted butter. Pour into an 8 or 9-inch springform pan. Using the back of a spoon, press onto the bottom and side of pan up to one inch of top. Or press crumbs into a deep-dish 9-inch or a 10-inch pie pan.


Link to the Online Marshmallow Fluff Online Yummybook blog where you can download the free recipe book.


Updated: 11/30/2020, AngelaJohnson
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AngelaJohnson on 01/10/2016

Kathryn Grace - I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I found a web page on making marshmallows from the plant; the first one is from the fresh plant and the second one is from dried roots.

Kathryn Grace on 01/09/2016

I do miss eating and using marshmallows. I would love to find a recipe for making them using the marshmallow plant some time. Thank you for the history and for all the recipes.

Tolovaj on 12/20/2014

Wov! I had no idea marshmallows have so interesting background. I totally understand the industry which aims at consistency and measurable standards to change the ingredients, but somehow it's a pity to loose the unpredictable charm of the plant, isn't it?

Mira on 11/12/2014

This is fascinating. I loved every bit of it. Thank you for writing such quality articles.
P.S. Pinning the marshmallow root bottle.

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