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Malva Herb Health Benefits

Malva, or Althea sylvestris, is an herb that has light-pink to purple flowers and grows all over the world. It is related to the marshmallow and hibiscus plants and is mainly consumed as a tea.


The leaves and seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. Leaves added to salads add a pleasant, mild flavour.


The young leaves of malva are harvested in the spring, and its blossoms are gathered in the summer and early fall.


While both plant parts can be used to make many teas, the preparations made with flowers are more commonly found in the U.S.


The word “malva” is derived from malakos, which in Greek means “soothing”; not surprisingly, malva tea is often given as a gargle to reduce throat inflammations.


Drinking the tea also helps calm stomach and intestinal irritation. The plant is also useful of its expectorant and cough-suppressing action.


In addition, the malva plant contains tannins in the leaves and blossoms, which can relive the pain of stomach upset, relax intestinal spasms and soothe irritated skin.


The flowers and leaves of the malva plant are soothing to the skin. To relieve sensitive skin, make a compress.


Simply soak a clean, soft washcloth in malva tea and apply the compress to the sensitive areas of the skin.


This will draw tissues closer together and improves their resistance to infection.


The leaves of this soothing herb contain high amounts of mucilage, made up of complex carbohydrates, which give the herb most of its soothing activity, though flavonoids and anthocyanidins may also contribute. 


It is effective in countering irritation and inflammation of the mucous membranes, and because it contains polysaccharides that form a protective layer on the stomach lining, it is said to lower stomach acids and is useful in relieving gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastric catarrh, enteritis, indigestion, ulcers and colitis.

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