Thursday, December 11, 2008

Malva sylvestris L.

Family : Malvaceae

Synonym(s) : Malva mauritiana (L.), Malva erecta (C.Presl.), Malva ambigua (Guss.)

English Name : Common Mallow

Origin : Europe


It is a perennial herb. Stem is erect and woody. Leaves are on a long stalk, 3 to 7 lobed, reniform at the base, margin scalloped, smooth above and roughly hairy below. Calyx is campanulate. Corolla is purple with veins of deeper tint. Pedicel is slender. Fruit is smooth netted with short style. Seeds are many and reniform.


Growing in meadows, cultivated, fallow and waste ground, roadsides and, occasionally, on coastal rocks and sand-dunes.

Parts Used : Flower, unripe fruit and plant

Herb Effects

All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve, antiseptic and hypothermic.

Active Ingredients

Mucilage and flavonols (plant); malvin and malvidin (flower); ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. (leaf).

Medicinal Use

The plant is used in painful complaints of the urinary organs, gravel and pulmonary disorders (such as whooping cough) and in inflammations and abscesses of the skin. The leaves and flowers are the main part used, their demulcent properties making them valuable as a poultice for bruise, inflammations, insect bites etc, or it is taken internally in the treatment of respiratory diseases (whooping cough, coughs, bronchitis) and digestive problems. The plant is a laxative for young children. Decoctions of the plant, especially of the root, are very useful where the natural mucus has been abraded from the coats of the intestines.


Tea: one cup three times per day.
A cold infusion can be made, by soaking 6 teaspoons of the dry herb in a quart of cold water overnight, and then applied topically.
Fluid extract: 1/2 to 2 drachms.


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