Discover our herbarium
What about learning more about a plant that is common, very pretty and healthy at the same time?
Mallow, a perennial plant with magnificent pink flowers.
Originating to Asia and the Mediterranean Basin, Mallow was already widely used by the Greeks, who had identified its laxative properties. It was thus one of Pythagoras' favourite remedies, which used it against the constipation that overwhelmed him... but especially Hippocrates, the "father of medicine"!
The Romans called it "omnimorbia", which means "all diseases", implying a reputation for treating them all!
In the Middle Ages, it was an integral part of the famous "plots of the simple", in which medicinal plants were cultivated. Charlemagne even imposed it in his "Capitulare de Villis vel curtis imperii" so that it could be cultivated for its appreciable therapeutic properties.
The genus name Malva (Malva sylvestris L.) means "soft" in Greek (malakos). The species name sylvestris refers to the forest. The soft side is a reference we can't explain.
Mallow or Woodland mallow is sometimes referred to as Wild mallow or Wood mallow or Cheese grass as we have seen.
Common mallow is a perennial plant with deciduous foliage, which has hairy stems. It is biennial and can measure between 30 cm and 1 m. It has large, dark green serrated leaves and, from June to October, magnificent flowers of a beautiful pinkish purple, enhanced by purple streaks.When they fade, the flowers turn blue, which gives colour to the liquor you can make from them. Don't look for purple markers in your mixes, they're blue! Its circular fruits are called "cheeses" hence the name "Cheese herb" or " fromageon " (in French).
It is important not to confuse it with the purple shrub Lavatera (Lavatera), the Althea (Hibiscus syriacus), the Holly Rose (Alcea) or the Cape Mallow (Anisodontea capensis).
The leaves are harvested in June or July and the flowers are harvested all summer long at the time of flowering. All parts of the plant are likely to be used (leaves, flowers and roots).
Mallow root is less and less used in favour of Marshmallow root, which has quite similar properties (relief of dental pain, in young children). Woodland mallow is nicknamed "fake marshmallow".
The taste of the Mallow infusion, whether it is the flower or the leaves, is very light and discreet, actually without much interest. That is why we only use it in a blend with other plants that have more taste. Its use in so-called " alimentary " herbal teas is quite recent, it is not really one of the plants historically used by Pagès, even though it is very widespread in Auvergne French region.
Mallow is also an important plant in the cooking area. We can indeed find lots of recipes containing this plant: https://recettes.de/mauve/top
Such as lots of other plants, Mallow is well-known for its benefits. In addition to its laxative properties, which have been well known since ancient times, Mallow has therefore been used for centuries to treat coughs, sore throats, mouth ulcers and other bronchitis.