Table of Contents
- Edible Uses of Common Mallow
- Medicinal Uses of Common Mallow
- Alternative Uses of Mallows
- Growing Malva SPP.
Related to marsh mallows, the malva spp. of mallow around Haliburton isn’t native. But it is an edible and medicinal wild plant with similar uses to the more popular marshmallow herb.
Common mallow (malva neglecta) is rare around Haliburton. You’re much more likely to find white or pink flowered musk mallow (malva moschata), listed as uncommon in Haliburton Flora. Their flowers look similar but the two species have quite different leaves. Neither are native here.
Edible Uses of Common Mallow
The young leaves and shoots can be eaten raw or cooked. As usual, older greens become tough and bitter. Since the plant is mucilaginous, it can be used to thicken stews. The leaves make a soothing tea as well.
Nutty immature seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. The older seeds can be used as a grain.
The flower buds, flowers and fruits are all edible.
To make meringue boil the roots and skim off the mucilage for a meringue-like substitute for egg whites. I haven’t tested this, but will one day and I’ll update.
Medicinal Uses of Common Mallow
Common mallow is primarily said to support these body systems:
Medicinal tags include Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Laxative, and Mucilage. See Medicinal tag key for more information.
Common usage includes, like its cousin marshmallow, the fresh or dried leaves for a tea to soothe mucous membranes. It’s more of a substitute when marshmallow isn’t available. The mucilage is soothing to skin, stomach, throat, etc. The leaves can also be chewed fresh to soothe a sore throat.
Alternative Uses of Mallows
The root can be used to clean teeth, like a wild toothbrush.
Cream, yellow and green dyes can all be obtained from different parts of the plant.
Growing Malva SPP.
For a similar look, swamp rose mallow (hibiscus moscheutos) is our native “mallow” and its status in Ontario is vulnerable or of special concern. It’s in the same subfamily as musk mallow, malvoideae, but breaks away at tribe level. If you have a wetland you can sow this plant and it’ll form a large beautiful colony.
And the Usual Cautions:
1) Most medicinal herbs, if edible, are meant to be eaten in moderation, even sparingly. Some require extra preparation.
2) People can be allergic or sensitive to nearly any plant; try new herbs one at a time at your own risk.
3) For medicinal use, I must recommend receiving a diagnosis and working with a reputed health care provider. I generally do not post specific treatments and dosages because I think that is best between you and your health care provider, and ideally monitored.
4) Anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding new food items to their diet.
5) Many plants have look-a-likes, and sometimes they are poisonous.
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Field Guide to North American Edible Wild Plants (Out of Print)