Musk Mallow (Malva moschata)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Musk Mallow
Malva moschata
Malvaceae

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

A fibre obtained from the stems is used for cordage, textiles and paper making[115].

  • Medicinal Use

    All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve[4, 7, 9, 21, 46, 222, 238]. The leaves and flowers can be eaten as part of the diet, or a tea can be made from the leaves, flowers or roots[222]. The leaves and flowers are the main part used, their demulcent properties making them valuable as a poultice for bruise, inflammations, insect bites etc, or taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases or inflammation of the digestive or urinary systems[4, 238]. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior, to the common mallow (M. sylvestris) and the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) and are seldom used internally[4]. The plant is an excellent laxative for young children[7].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[K]. A mild pleasant flavour[K]. The leaves are mucilaginous and fairly bland, we use them in bulk in summer salads[K]. They make a very good perennial substitute for lettuce in a salad, producing fresh leaves from spring until the middle of summer, or until the autumn from spring germinating plants[K].

    Flowers – raw[K]. A very decorative addition to the salad bowl, they have a very mild flavour[K].

    Seed – raw. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and fiddly to harvest[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are used 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 – best sown in early spring in a cold frame. The seed germinates quickly and easily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in their permanent positions in the early summer[K]. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown outdoors in situ in the middle to late spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Cuttings of side shoots, July/August in a cold frame[111].
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]. Hardy to about -25¡c[187]. A very ornamental plant[1]. It is very variable in form, especially with regard to the degree of laciniation of the leaves[17]. The crushed leaves have a musk-like smell[245]. Plants are generally quite short-lived though they can self-sow freely when in a suitable position and usually more than maintain themselves[233, K]. If the plant is pruned back to the main branches as it comes into flower, then it will produce a fresh flush of leaves in late summer for salad use[K]. A good plant for the summer meadow[24]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Prone to infestation by rust fungus[200].
Most of Europe, including Britain, south to N. Africa.

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.