Fall and winter are some of my favorite times in the year. Why? Because that means I get to make hot chocolate! I am a chocolate lover through and through. This herbal marshmallow hot chocolate is no exception. It’s easy to make, but also beneficial to the body, especially if you’re dealing with respiratory issues. As an herbalist I try to find the easiest ways to incorporate medicinal elements into our everyday meals and treats—herbal marshmallow hot chocolate is one of our favorites!
When I say marshmallow, I don’t mean the white fluffy dessert! I actually mean Marshmallow root, which is a powerful mucilage herb. Let’s learn more about it, and then I’ll give you the recipe for this delicious treat.
Botanical Name: Althaea officinalis
Common Name(s): althaea, althea, marshmallow plant
Parts used: leaves, roots, flowers
Uses: anti-inflammatory, diuretic, expectorant, soothes skin, urinary tract anti-inflammatory, heals wounds, respiratory aid, reduces coughing
Harvest: The mucilage content in the root is best when harvested in the fall and winter. Harvest the leaves and flowers as they mature.
History: Marshmallow root is probably one of the most popular staple herbs throughout the history of herbalism, dating all the way back to the ninth century BC. The Greek physician, Hippocrates valued it as a wound treatment. Dioscorides valued it in a vinegar infusion to help with toothaches and soothe insect stings. Herbalists throughout generations have valued this herb for its ability to soothe sore throats and coughs, and to heal urinary tract irritation and inflammation. Perhaps today the most popular use of marshmallow is help to reduce coughing and inflammation in the respiratory tract. It is a common ingredient in cough syrups.
How We Use It: Marshmallow . . . no, not the kind you put on top of your hot chocolate. We like marshmallow because it helps soothe sore throats and respiratory inflammation, and that’s really what it does best! This is our “wintertime” herb to keep on hand. We especially love it in a marshmallow-infused hot chocolate (see recipe). Marshmallow is sometimes best made into a poultice and rubbed on the area that needs healing or support, but works wonders when ingested as well. When creating a poultice, you’ll notice that the marshmallow gets gel-like. We use it internally and externally, often at the same time for the same issue.
Safety and Dosage: There are no known precautions with this herb and is generally considered safe to consume.
Tincture dosage: 30 drops three times a day. Syrup dosage: 10 mL three times a day. Steep 1–2 tsp of dried marshmallow in a tea or drink.
Herbal Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Recipe
Wintertime often brings with it inflamed sore throats and respiratory tract problems. There’s nothing quite like coming inside to a hot cup of cocoa, but marshmallow root makes it that much better. This herb will help reduce coughing, sore throat, and inflammation in the respiratory tract and is even safe for the little helping hands. Using raw milk in this recipe will further decrease inflammation and soothe the respiratory tract, and the marshmallow brings a cinnamon flavor to the drink. This recipe makes enough for 8 cups of hot chocolate.
- 3/4 oz marshmallow root, dried
- 9 cups milk (raw is best!)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (good quality)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a saucepan, heat up milk and marshmallow root. Allow to infuse for 30 minutes without bringing to a boil but still very hot. Once complete, strain out marshmallow root (if you did not use a tea bag or tea infuser) and return milk to hot saucepan.
- Add sugar, melt, and combine completely.
- Add cocoa powder and stir until completely combined.
- Add vanilla extract, combine well.
- Serve warm with homemade whipped cream or marshmallows . . . the big fluffy kind.
It’s that easy! Serve these delicious hot cocoa on cold winter days after playing outside in the snow, when fighting a cold, or just as a general respiratory health booster for you and your family!