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8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cut flowers cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood floristry flower essence flower garden flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs Looby Macnamara lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm Midwest Permaculture mimic mindset mitigation money Morag Gamble moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic flowers organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

Topics

8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cut flowers cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood floristry flower essence flower garden flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs Looby Macnamara lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm Midwest Permaculture mimic mindset mitigation money Morag Gamble moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic flowers organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

Benefits of Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) – hand cream and face mask recipes

Laura Pardoe explains how to make your own rejuvenating hand cream and face mask using marshmallow (Althaea officinalis).

Mallow (Althaea officinalis) has been grown as a medicinal plant since Roman times and was considered a ‘cure-all’. Its name Althaea comes from the Greek altha ‘to cure’. It is the plant from which our sticky sweets get their name, which were originally made using the mucilage from the stems of this plant, an ingredient also used to make Middle Eastern halva. The name ‘mallow’ derives from the Old English ‘malwe’ meaning ‘soft’ and refers to the abundant mucilage, which is the useful skin-softening component. You’ll notice a similarity between the marshmallow plant and hollyhocks, they are related: ‘hoc’ was the Old English word for ‘mallow’. 

Benefits 

Great for softening skin and conditioning and long used traditionally for this purpose, along with many other applications including treating irritations, boils, burns, sores, ulcers, wounds and inflammations. Marshmallow is gentle enough to use on babies’ skin or sensitive skin, while also being rejuvenating for older skins on the face or body. It’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and moisturising (helping to maintain levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin). In hair products it can help nourish, detangle, condition and may counteract hair loss. 

Parts to use 

Leaves and roots. Make an infusion or maceration from the leaves and a decoction or maceration from the roots. 

How to find, grow, harvest 

On making my first attempts to find marsh­mallow growing wild I was disappointed to find Nicholas Culpeper’s description: ‘Common mallows are generally so well known they need no description’. So discovery has been something of a labour of love, and I prize my sightings of marshmallow, even though now I recognise it can be quite common when driving along country roads. It is typically found in damp conditions, so near streams, rivers and marshes. You’ll recognise it easiest when in bloom; pale flowers appear in late summer, with no fragrance, and all die down in autumn. It has five-lobed roundish, soft leaves that are densely covered in hairs. There is a saying that marshmallow grows only near a happy home. 

How to use 

Use an infusion in a rinse for dry hair.

Marshmallow hand cream 

5g marshmallow root
2 tbsp (30g) ground almonds 
1 tsp (5ml) milk
1 tsp (5ml) cider vinegar

Make: First make a decoction of marshmallow root by placing it in a bowl and pouring over 150ml water, then leave overnight. Strain the next day and use 2 tablespoons (30ml) of the decoction. Mix this with the almonds, milk and cider vinegar, beating them together until well blended. Put into a screw-top jar.

Use: Apply whenever hands feel dry. 

Store: Keep in the fridge. Will keep for one week. 

Carrot and marshmallow mask – for dry and sensitive skin

1 large carrot
2 marshmallow leaves
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tbsp (15ml) double cream

Make: Grate the carrot and pound the marshmallow leaves, then mix them together with the egg yolk and add just enough double cream to make a firm slush. 

Use: Use your fingers or a brush to apply to your face, sit back and relax for 10-15 minutes. Then wash off with warm water and pat dry. 

This is an extract from Laura Pardoe’s Vital Skincare: Natural Healthy Skin in Just 5 Minutes a Day. Chapters include:

  • Why it is Vital to Look after your Skin
  • Blending Your Own
  • Three determinants that make your skin what it is
  • Cleansing
  • Toners
  • Exfoliating
  • Moisturising
  • Learn to Blend like a Pro 
  • Powerhouse Seed Oils
  • Flower Power 
  • Our Closest Herbs – through the seasons
  • Little Rituals – Reflecting on your Skincare
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Further Resources

Watch

Make Your Own Natural Skincare

Books

Vital Skincare
by Laura Pardoe

The Medicinal Forest Garden Handbook
by Anne Stobart

Letting in the Wild Edges
by Glennie Kindred

Articles

Vital Skincare

Natural Skincare Recipes with Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

How to Make your own Natural Cleansers

5 Natural Cures for Eczema

About the Author

Laura is a plantswoman and natural skincare formulator. Now living in the Cotswolds, her time is shared between family, hedgerows, garden, workshops, desk and lab as she blends traditional and modern approaches to bring the skincare benefits of temperate plants to all.