Leaves are eaten raw, chopped up finely in salads, or cooked (but only a few leaves are suggested otherwise the dish becomes too mucilagenous) and can be used to thicken soups and sauces. The root can be eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable. It is also dried and ground and roasted to create a sweet – the original “marshmallow”. A herbal tea is made from the flowers, or the root.
It is a very useful household medicinal herb, mostly used because of its soothing properties on the mucous membranes. Can be used for bronchitis and cough. The root can be used internally in cases of peptic ulceration and gastritis as it counters excess acid. Externally the whole plant is useful for aching muscles and inflammation. Leaf tea may treat cystitis, and the root can be applied to boils and abscesses.
Dried root can be chewed by teething children. Root is used as a cosmetic to soften skin. A glue can be made from the root.