Chinese Mallow (Malva verticillata)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chinese Mallow
Malva verticillata

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads[168].

  • Medicinal Use

    The seed contains mucilage, polysaccharides and flavonoids[279]. It is demulcent, diuretic, emollient, galactogogue and laxative[147, 176, 218]. The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are considered to have a sweet and astringent taste plus a heating potency[241]. They are used in the treatment of renal disorders, the retention of fluids, frequent thirst and diarrhoea[241].

    The root is used to cause vomiting in the treatment of whooping cough[240].

    The leaves and stems are said to be digestive[240]. They are given to women in the advanced stages of pregnancy[240].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[2, 51, 61, 100, 183]. The leaves of well-grown plants can be 15cm or more across. They have a mild and very pleasant flavour that makes an excellent addition to salads[K]. We use them as a tasty alternative to the lettuce[K].

    Young seeds – raw or cooked. Used when green and immature[85]. A pleasant nutty taste but the seed is too small and fiddly for most people to want to harvest[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are cultivated inorganically), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves[76]. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow early spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.
A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil[1], though it prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. This species is cultivated as a salad crop in parts of Europe[17, 50, 51]. There is at least one named variety:- ‘Crispa’ has more tender leaves than the species with curled leaf edges that make it look more attractive in salads. This species was one of the earliest domesticated crops in China, it has been in cultivation for well over 2,500 years[183]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Plants are prone to infestation by rust fungus[200].
E. Asia. A casual, occasionally established in Britain.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.