The word “marshmallow” comes from the mallow plant species (Althaea officinalis), a herb native to parts of Europe, North Africa, and Asia which grows in marshes and other damp areas. The plant’s stem and leaves are fleshy and its white flower has five petals. It is not known exactly when marshmallows were invented, but their history goes back as early as 2000 BC. Ancient Egyptians were said to be the first to make them, and eating them was a privilege strictly reserved for gods and for royalty, who used the root of the plant to soothe coughs and sore throats, and to heal wounds. The first marshmallows were prepared by boiling pieces of root pulp with honey until thick. Once thickened, the mixture was strained, cooled, and then used as intended.
Marshmallow is a type of confectionery that is typically made from sugar, water and gelatin whipped to a squishy consistency. It is used as a filling in baking, or commonly molded into shapes and coated with corn starch.