Mallow - Useful Herb for Many Health Problems


Malva sylvestris Malvaceae

Common throughout Europe the mallow is a robust plant with a thick stem and downy, lobed leaves, It xrows wild by the roadside onáembankments and on waste ,ground, The showy, mauvish flowers are attractively streaked with cril/lson veins, The fruit if the mallow is a circle if small nuts, each containingáa single seed.

Parts used

  • Leaves and flowers
  • The leaves are collected in spring, before the plant is in bloom. Flowers are gathered from to June to September.
  • Both flowers and leaves are arranged in thin layers and left to dry in a dark place, so as not to destroy their anthocyanic pigments.
  • Once dried, the leaves and flowers are used to prepare infusions, decoctions and powders.


Both the leaves and flowers are rich in soothing mucilages. Anthocyanin pigments, responsible for the colour of mallow flowers, also contain polysaccharides and flavonoids.

Medicinal uses

  • Mallow is well known for its soothing effect on the bronchial tubes and is most frequently used to ease bronchial ailments and coughs.
  • The plant can also be taken to calm inflammation in the digestive tract and to treat symptoms of constipation and colitis.
  • Externally, mallow soothes skin irritations and, as a gargle, is good for oral problems; the decoction can also be applied to babies' gums to soothe teething pain.
  • Japanese studies published in 1989 have shown that mallow's antiinflammatory action is due to its mucilage content.
  • Scientists are now exploring new uses for the plant as recent research has revealed that the polysaccharides contained in mallow and the related marshmallow root (see p.143) can help to strengthen the immune system.


For internal use

TO TREAT bronchial ailments, coughs
INFUSION Put 5g of dried leaves and flowers into 1 litre of water. Boil for 5 minutes, then strain. Drink 1-3 cups a day.

CAPSULES (250mg powder) Take 3-5 capsules a day, with a large glass of water.
TO TREAT colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation INFUSION Put 1 0-15g of dried flowers into 1 litre of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink 3-4 cups a day.

For external use

TO TREAT skin and mouth problems
DECOCTION Put 30g dried flowers and/or leaves into 1 litre of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. For itching and dry skin, apply to the affected area several times a day. For inflammation of the mouth and voice loss, gargle or use as a mouthwash several times a day.



Mallow is grown from seeds. Plant them in late spring, in a sunny or lightly shaded spot. Mallow grows in any well-drained soil and thrives in poor soils.


Very high doses of preparations that contain mallow have been known to have a laxative effect.


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