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(Althaea Officinalis)

Indicated for:
Sore throats, bronchitis, toothache, babies teething, gingivitis, diarrhea, gastritis, colitis, ulcers, insomnia, wounds, burns, abcesses, boils, urethritis, cystitis, kidney stones, inflammation of the joints, varicose veins.

Why it works:
Anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, expectorant. 30% of the plant consists of mucilage (a gummy substance) which soothes irritated mucous membranes. It has also been suggested that it helps the immune system produce white blood cells to fight infection. It may also lower blood sugar (research in progress).

How to use it:
Mallow decoction (infusion from roots):

1-2 tsp of mallow root to 1 cup of water. Put the chopped, crushed root in a glass or enamel pan (not metal) and bring to boil in the water. Simmer 15 minutes then strain.

Dried Herb:
Mix 1 tbls dried herb in 8 oz boiling water. Strain.

Drink up to 3 cups of either versions of this daily. Can also be used as a gargle.

1 capsule 3 times daily.

Toothache, teething:
Sucking on the root brings relief.

Add water to chopped, crushed root to make a gel, spread liberally on wounds, etc as a poultice.

Culinary uses:
Young leaves and shoots can be shredded for salads and soups, roots can be parboiled and fried in butter.

Growing notes:
Wild hollyhock. Pink flowers.Grows to 4ft. Blooms in late summer, with no fragrance. Grows throughout Europe, Australia, Asia, and eastern North America. Likes damp soil and can be found on marshland. Perennial, roots can be divided in autumn. Must be well-watered in a dry summer.

Safe for infants in low doses.

Used with cayenne for burns, blood poisoning, and gangrene

Best used fresh, dried herb does not store well.

Used by Hippocrates and Charlemagne.

Miscellaneous observations:
The mucilage was originally used to make marshmallow, the roots were boiled. Modern confections are artificial.