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Malva

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  • Botanical: Malva sylvestris
  • Family: Malvaceae
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Malva

Botanical

Malva sylvestris

Family

Malvaceae

Known as

Mallow, High Mallow, Malva, Malve, Käsepappel, Gänsepappel, Kasköpfe, Käslein, Katzenkrallen, Krallenblumen, Pappeln, Schafkas, Schwellkraut

Old Use

medicinal

Parts Used

flowers, leaves, roots, seed

Aroma

earthy, herbaceius

Medicinal

abscess, acne, antiseptic, bronchitis, boils, bronchitis, dermatitis, eczema, fever, gastritis, gastrointestinal, herpes, infections, sinusitis, skin rashes, ulcers, throat infections, tonsillitis, open sores

Infection & Inflammation

fever, gingivitis, infections, infections intestinal, mouth inflammation, mouth sores, sinusitis, skin inflammation, throat infections, throat inflammation

Muscle & Joints

convulsions

Respiratory System

bronchitis, cough, pharyngitis, sore throat, throat infections

Stomach & Intestinal

cystitis, diarrhea, gastrointestinal, gastric inflammation

Skin & Hair

abscess, burns, cellulite, dermatitis, eczema, erysipelas, open sores, wounds

Properties

anesthetic, antibacterial, antiseptic, anti inflammatory, astringent, digestive, expectorant

Description

Malva sylvestris is a spreading herb, which is an annual in North Africa, biennial in the Mediterranean and a perennial elsewhere. Three feet (one meter) tall, (3 meters has been observed in a wild or escaped from cultivation setting, and several cultivated plants of 2 meter or more in height) with a growth habit which can be straight or decumbent, branched and covered with fine soft hairs or none at all, M. sylvestris is pleasing in appearance when it first starts to flower, but as the summer advances, "the leaves lose their deep green color and the stems assume a ragged appearance".

Stems and leaves are thick, round and strong.The leaves are borne upon the stem, are roundish, and have three or five to seven or five to nine shallow lobes, each 2 to 4 centimeters (1 to 2 inches) long, 2 to 5 centimeters wide (1 to 2 inches) and 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) in diameter. Downy, with hairs radiating from a common center and prominent veins on the underside. Petiole either 2 to 6 centimeters (1 to 3 inches) or 2 to 13 centimeters (1 to 5 or 6 inches) long.

 Flower are reddish-purple, bright pinkish-purple with dark stripes and bright mauve-purple, the flowers of Malva sylvestris appear in axillary clusters of 2 to 4 and form irregularly and elongated along the main stem with the flowers at the base opening first.

M. sylvestris has an epicalyx (or false calyx) with oblong segments, two-thirds as long as calyx or 2–3 millimeters long and 1.5 millimeters wide. Its calyx is free to the middle, 3–6 millimeters long, with broadly triangular lobes or ovate mostly 5–7 millimeters long.The flowers are 2–4 times as long as the calyx; Petals are wrinkly to veined on the backs, more than 20 millimeters long or 15 to 25 millimeters long and 1 centimeter wide, eggshaped, margin notched with a fringe of hairlike projections.

Slender flower stalks that are either 2 centimeters long or 1 to 3 centimeters long.
Ten broad carpels in axillary clusters; stamen about 3 millimters long, radiating from the center with short soft hairs.

Fruit - nutlets strongly reticulate (10–12 mericarps, usually without hair, with sharp angle between dorsal and lateral surfaces, 5–6 millimters in diameter. Seeds or 'cheeses,' are brown to brownish green when ripe, about 2.5 millimeters long and wide 5 to 7 millimeters in diameter and are shaped like a cheese wheel which is where several of its common names came from.

Properties & Uses

All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve. The leaves and flowers can be eaten as part of the diet, or a tea can be made from the leaves, flowers or roots. 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 they can be taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases and problems with the digestive tract. When combined with eucalyptus it makes a god remedy for coughs and other chest ailments. Mallow has similar properties, but is considered to be inferior to the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) and are seldom used internally. The plant is an excellent laxative for young children. The leaves can be used fresh whenever they are available or can be harvested in the spring and dried for later use. The flowers are harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use.

Other Uses
Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. A tincture of the flowers forms a very delicate test for alkalis. The leaves are used to relieve insect bites and stings. A fibre obtained from the stems is useful for cordage, textiles and paper making

Cautions

none known

Distribution

Most of Europe, including Britain.

Constituents

starch, mucilage, pectin, oil, sugar, asparagin, phosphate of lime, glutinous matter and cellulose.