Althaea

Althaea is used to relieve scalp problems such as dandruff and dryness.

The traditional medicinal uses of the plant are reflected in the name of the genus, which comes from the Greek althainein, meaning "to heal". The flowers and young leaves can be eaten, and are often added to salads or are boiled and fried. The roots and stem also secrete mucilage, which is used to soften the skin, and is used in cosmetic treatments.

The Roman poet Horace refers to his own diet in his Odes, which he describes as very simple: "As for me, olives, endives, and smooth mallows provide sustenance." The root has been used since Egyptian antiquity in a honey-sweetened confection useful in the treatment of sore throat.

The later French version of the recipe, called pâte de guimauve (or "guimauve" for short), included an egg white meringue and was often flavoured with rose water. Pâte de guimauve more closely resembles contemporary commercially available marshmallows, which no longer contain any actual marshmallow.

The root's emulsifying property is used for cleaning Persian carpets in the Middle East. It is regarded as the best method to preserve the vibrancy of vegetable dyes used in coloring the carpet's wool.