Malva sylvestris, this is the scientific name for Malva, belongs to the Malvacee family and is a bushy and perennial plant. In addition to being a plant suitable for ornamentation as it is very pleasing to the eye, it is cultivated because it has many phytotherapeutic abilities.
Etymologically Malva comes from the Latin "Mollire alvum" which means "to soften" or better "calming". It comes from Asia and from Europe, grows spontaneously in the fields in the Mediterranean and mountain regions and we find it up to a height of over 1000 meters. It is easily identifiable among other plants or herbs due to its characteristic dark lilac flowers. Already many years ago, the leaves of mallow were used as remedies for many ailments, it is even said that it was collected by the peasants and placed on the windowsills of the houses, during the eve of San Giovanni, in order to absorb the "dew" and drive out all the ills. Hippocrates, in ancient Greece, used it for its emollient and laxative capacities, still found today.
The mallow has an erect stem, serrated and covered with hair. The flowers have 5 petals of pink color which tends to purple; these flowers move to follow the sun just like sunflowers. The height of your bush can vary from 30 cm to 1 meter.
What is used of the mallow are the flowers, which are collected at the beginning of the flowering with the younger leaves, and mainly with them are infusions and decoctions prepared. The flowers must be previously dried in the dark and in the open air even if it is difficult to keep them properly as with the drying the flowers turn blue and bleach.
Beneficial properties of a mallow tea
One often assumes a infusion of mallow to combat illnesses caused by fever, inflammation, colds, but also to constipation. Mallow is also diuretic and sedative, as it appears to act on nerve endings by attenuating pain. Very useful for relieving dental pains, abscesses or stomatitis but it is also very effective against inflammation of the intimate parts of our body, digestive and respiratory tracts and finally has the ability to purify our body inside by expelling toxins.
Drink a infusion of mallow It is very useful in the case of coughing because it is really effective against catarrhs, or by dipping a cotton ball in the mallow infusion you can cleanse and burn your eyes and also treat conjunctivitis.
If it is applied locally with compresses it is very useful also in case of pimples, acne, eczema and all skin irritations.
An infusion of mallow also exerts an important soothing and emollient action, so much so that mixed with the water of our bath, it will be an excellent beauty product for our skin. This plant, in fact, is rich in mucilage, vitamin A, B1, C and E, tannins and much more that give it its own soothing action. Furthermore, mallow flowers contain essential oils with an antioxidant action.
It is a plant also widely used in the preparation of soaps, eye drops and toothpastes. The root is even very useful to counter the tingling and to preserve white and sanitized teeth.
How to prepare a mallow tea
The most traditional infusion is obtained by taking 1/2 liter of water and making it boil. As soon as the boil is released it is necessary to add 20 grams of dried mallow and let it rest in infusion for at least 5 minutes, at this point it will be enough to filter the infusion with a thick mesh strainer to remove the mallow leaves and drink it, even once cooled throughout the day. The important thing is not to exceed the assumed dose, at the most you can drink three glasses of infusion a day.
You will notice that as soon as you dip the dried leaves of mallow in the boiling water, you will get a violet infusion, precisely because of the purple color of the flowers, which will however disappear as the mallow remains in infusion.
The taste of the malva infusion is very delicate and pleasant so it is not necessary to add sugar or honey.
If we want a specific infusion to cure colds, coughs and fever it is sufficient to soak three tablespoons of leaves and dried mauve flowers in a cup of boiling water and leave to infuse for 10 minutes, once filtered the infusion is immediately ready to drink and you can take three or four cups a day.
Instead, if the infusion must have the characteristic of combating constipation, it will be enough to dip a teaspoon of mallow in 100 ml of boiling water and leave to infuse at least 15 minutes. After having filtered it, the infusion can be drunk but no more than two or three cups a day.
The same types of infusions can also be used for external use, to wash or wrap or gargle.
To have a slightly more elaborate but even more effective infusion against cough, 3 drops of thyme essential oil and a bicarbonate coffee bean spoon should be added to the inside while it is still boiling. With this preparation it will be possible to carry out fumigations, covering the head with a towel and taking deep breaths over the infusion. This operation will help our respiratory tract to get rid of the catarrhal.
Same thing, if we want an infusion even more effective against constipation we will have to add to the mallow flowers also a spoon of flax seeds, prepare the infusion with the same modalities and drink a cup every morning on an empty stomach.
Mauve tea: curiosity, final advice and contraindications
The softest leaves and the sprouts of the mallow can also be used in the kitchen cooked but also raw with a little olive oil and a little lemon. But that's not all, with the mallow excellent risottos and pasta sauces are prepared, plus it is possible to prepare delicious omelettes made from mallow sprouts or fry the flowers to have an alternative side dish.
Even the soup with mallow is a very special and delicious dish.
To date, no side effects have been reported regarding the use of mallow infusions, however it is advisable never to exceed the recommended doses and in case of doubt it is always advisable to consult your doctor. Indeed, due to its extreme beneficial properties, the mallow infusion is also recommended to pregnant women to counteract constipation, always, perhaps, under the supervision of the doctor. Also allergic reactions to mallow are not known, therefore it will be enough to take it paying attention to the indicated doses.
It is preferable, however, to buy the dried flower directly in herbal medicine as it is processed according to the right maturation period. The flowers and leaves in fact, must be collected from June to September. Even those who cultivate it for aesthetic and ornamental purposes must seize the active parts of the plant at the same time.
It will have a greater healing effect if the plants have been grown in healthy and pollution-free environments.