Althea, also known as Marshmallow, Altea, White Mallow, is a genus (Malkea) of the 6-12 species of perennial plants of the Malachoid family, native to Europe and West Asia. It contains Althaea officinalis, also known as the marshmallow plant from which the fluffy cake got its name. They are found on the banks of rivers and in salt flats, preferring moist, sandy soils. The stems reach 1-2 m in height and bloom in mid-summer. The leaves are palmate lobed with 3-7 lobes. The flowers and young leaves can be eaten, and are often added to salads or boiled and fried. The roots and stems also secrete a mucous substance, which is used to soften the skin. and is used for cosmetic treatments. The root has been used since ancient Egypt with honey as a preparation useful in the treatment of sore throat. Its properties and uses vary, are emollient, healing, diuretic, used in inflammation of the mouth (gingivitis, periodontitis), toothache, abscess, gastritis, peptic ulcer, and digestive problems.