Common Mallow is a backyard weed used in medicinal remedies to fight infections both inside and outside the body. The mucilage and flavonol glycosides in the leaves and flowers provide healing properties to soften and soothe the skin. A compress of Common Mallow is helpful in external first-aid for cuts, minor burns, diaper rash, psoriasis, sunburn and more.
As a child I remember eating the tasty button-like fruit which we called "Belly Buttons." The green herbal flavor of these flat discs make a great addition to smoothies or toppings for salad. The leaves and roots can be steeped into a tea for internal relief of bronchitis, sore throat, laryngitis, and dry cough to remove mucous secretions from the lungs. Here are two remedies and some tips on identifying this plant for harvest.
COMMON MALLOW COMPRESS
(For cuts, minor burns, diaper rash, dry skin, psoriasis, and sunburn)
1/2 Cup fresh or dried Common Mallow Leaves
1/2 Cup fresh or dried Comfrey Leaves
1/2 Cup fresh or dried Burdock Leaves
1/4 Cup of ground flaxseed (I use a coffee grinder to mince mine)
Pour 1 Cup of boiling water over 1 Tablespoon of the above mix
Soak for 15 to 20 minutes and strain.
Soak a cotton cloth in the tea and apply folded cloth to the affected area.
Keep warm with a hot water bottle or heating pad.
COMMON MALLOW TEA
(For bronchitis, laryngitis, strained vocal chords, cough, and sore throat)
1 Common Mallow leaf (fresh) or 1/2 teaspoon of dried leaves.
1 Common Mallow 2 inch root (fresh is better but dried is fine).
Add 1 cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes then strain.
Drink 1 cup - four times daily.
The Common Mallow leaf looks similar to the Ground Ivy leaf (pictured above left) and the Geranium leaf (pictured above right) but the plant is entirely different from either. Certain characteristics to look for are tiny white flowers and button-like pods which seem to be apparent all season long.
Harvest mature leaves and roots in late summer to dry. The dried roots and leaves can be used to make a tea, poultice, or compress. Instead of drying, you can blanch and freeze the leaves for winter months.
Like many wild herbs, the medicinal benefits of Common Mallow are amazingly infinite. It is a humble backyard weed worth getting to know.
Best of all, the incredible power of herbs is free to everyone.