How and what can the mallow plant be used for?

Mallow is a plant that can easily be found in the wild and is characterized by its purple flowers.

For centuries, its flowers, leaves and mucilage (viscous plant substance) have been used medicinally. Find out here which ones, why they are due and how to take advantage of it.

What is mallow?

MallowMalva sylvestris) is a plant belonging to the family Malvaceae. Although it is native to Europe, it is widespread throughout the world, to the point that it is common to find it in fields or wastelands. It is characterized by being between 3 and 4 feet tall (90 to 120 cm) and having striking purple flowers.

It has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, because it is rich in different beneficial biochemical components, such as tannins, vitamins, especially A, B and C, and minerals, such as calcium, iron and magnesium.

What is mallow used for?

Like many herbs, mallow has a long medicinal tradition. Generally, its benefits are obtained by drinking it as an infusion, although it is also used topically:

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Calm the pain

One of the common uses for mallow is to relieve pain and speed healing from wounds. According to the available evidence, this is because it has compounds with analgesic properties.

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Traditional medicine promotes the use of its leaves in the form of a poultice on the affected area, although it is also common to drink it as an infusion to relieve joint pain.


Continuing with the beneficial effects of mallow on the skin, there are studies that found that this plant has anti-inflammatory properties, so it is common for it to be used against insect bites, bruises, sunburns or skin rashes.

Improves digestion

A popular home remedy made from mallow seeds and leaves is used to improve digestion. Hot water should only be poured over a handful of seeds, leaves, or both, let it rest, and then strain.

It is drunk at room temperature for a mild laxative effect and to combat gastrointestinal conditions such as heartburn, ulcers or constipation, or to relieve any tension in the digestive organs.

Increase defenses

Mallow infusions, extracts or supplements seem to be useful to strengthen the defenses. Although there is not enough evidence to support this benefit, it is believed that, due to the presence of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, it can stimulate the function of the immune system, preventing infections, especially bacterial ones.

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It is also often used against congestion in the chest or other respiratory conditions (such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis and bronchitis,) since it promotes expectoration, helps clear the airways, and relieves discomfort in the throat.

Other benefits

Although there is no research that has delved into these effects, from natural medicine it is common for mallow to be used to:

  • Help you lose weight.
  • Fight urinary tract infections.
  • Control blood sugar levels, due to its hypoglycemic effects.
  • Stimulate the elimination of toxins.
  • Promote quality sleep.
  • Prevent the appearance of premature wrinkles or other marks on the skin caused by aging.
  • Reduce fluid retention.

How to use mallow

You can take advantage of the benefits of mallow by taking it regularly as an infusion. Preparing this drink is very simple:

  1. Heat water (it should not come to a boil).
  2. Place two teaspoons of dried mallow in a cup.
  3. Pour in the water and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Strain and drink while hot.

You can also opt for topical use, applying it as a poultice on the affected areas. To do this, you must:

  1. Crush the fresh mallow in a mortar until obtaining a homogeneous paste.
  2. Add warm water (and in some cases a little flour) to give consistency.
  3. Place on the injured skin area.
  4. Cover with a cloth.
  5. Leave on for a few minutes (between 10 or 15).
  6. Remove and wash well.

Finally, you can turn to mallow extracts or supplements. This can be found on any online shopping site or health food stores. However, the recommendation and supervision of a health professional is advised before using these types of products.

To remember:

Until significant scientific evidence from human trials is available, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.

Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.

Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.

Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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