Mallow comes from the Botanical name Malva sylvestris L, Malva vulgaris.
It is also known by other names such as, zebrina mallow, blue mallow, cheesecake, high mallow, marsh mallow, cheese flower, malva (Spanish), malve (German), rödmalva (Swedish), mauve (French) and almindelig katost (Danish).
Mallow is native to North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, but now holds a natural habitat in many parts of the world. It is a biennial or perennial plant of the malvaceae plant family. The flowers of the mallow are pink with purple veins and the leaves are a dark green. The fruit is ring shape and then splits into lots of small seeds. The flowers are 2 - 5 cm wide with its petals being 3 - 4 times longer than its cup. It is covered with small hairs and creeping stems. The mallow plant can grow up to one metre in height.
The parts of the plant that are used are the leaves and flowers. Some of the leaves can get infected by a rust fungus which is common to this plant, but the uninfected leaves get used in herbal medicines and foods.
Some of the great substances that the leaves and flower buds contain are vitamin C, mucus, essential oil, tannins and flavonoids.
Common mallow has very similar health benefits as the marshmallow (Althaea officinalis).Its healing properties help with respiratory problems in the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract. The herb contains mucous that can cover the inflamed tissue with a layer of protection. A herbal tea can be made from the flowers or leaves to help with coughing. The tea is also said to help mothers who are nursing to help produce milk
Malva sylvestris is a subspecies of the common mallow. It is rich in mucilage and the flowers of this subspecies get used heavily in herbal medicine for treating such things like throat infections, asthma, coughing, emphysema and bronchitis. It is also used as a treatment for wounds or inflammation of the mucous membrane in the throat, mouth, stomach and intestines. Other treatments that this herb gets used for are toothaches, insomnia, constipation, headaches, kidney stones, kidney inflammation, gastritis and gallstones.
Because of its anti-inflammatory, bactericidal and astringent properties of the plant it can be used externally to treat acnes, skin rashes, pimples, swelling and insect bites. Malva sylvestris can also be used a source of food. The seeds of the plant have a similar taste to a young hazelnut and can be used in green salads along with its leaves and flowers.