The herb malva, or Althea sylvestris, has light-pink to purple flowers and grows in regions all over the world. Overseas, it is commonly referred to as "mallow." In the United State, however, the term "malva" is more common to distinguish it from the marshmallow plant. 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. Warm compresses can draw toxins from pimples, abscesses and other skin inflammation while cool tea compresses can help to relive superficial burns. The active components of malva are mucilage (which is a viscous substance), tannins and malvin, a red pigment.
Preparation of the tea
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over1-2 tsp. of a combination of malva leaves and flowers. Cover the cup or teapot and steep for 10-15 min; strain. Drink up to 3 cups a day. To use the tea as a compress, add 2-4 tsp. of the herb per cup of boiling water; allow to cool. Tea prepared from a mixture of leaves and flowers should be a golden-brown color.
Because of its high mucilage content, malva tea helps to alleviate inflammation and mouth 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.
For an earache
To alleviate ear pain and inflammation, boil 4 teaspoons of malva in 1 cup of water. Pour the brew into a small heatproof bowl and hold your ear over it until the liquid cools. Cover your head with a towel to help keep the vapors from escaping. Caution: Never leaves a child unsupervised during a steam treatment.
For the digestive system
To relive gastrointestinal complaints, take 2 tablespoons of malva wine a day. To make the wine, soak 1 ounce of flowers in 1 pint of white wine for 10 days; strain
Extra tip : To relive the pain of hemorrhoids and accelerate healing, make a tea with 2-4 tsp. of malva per cup of boiling water. Let the tea cool and use it to wash the area daily.
For cough and sore throat
To relive a cough, sore throat, bronchitis or other cold symptom, slowly sip a cup of hot malva tea (below) several times a day.
To soothing the 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 draws tissues closer together and improves their resistance to infection.
For vaginal inflammation
A malva-tea douche can help dissolve mucus and reduce discharge, aiding the regeneration of the lining of the vagina and reducing inflammation. Do not douche if you believe you have yeast or other vaginal inflection or ore pregnant.
For breast inflammation
Apply warm compresses of malva tea to sore breasts. The anti-inflammatory effect of the compress can be increased by adding 5 drops of echinacea and 5 drop of tincture of arnica to the tea mixture.
Caution: Once you add arnica, the tea must only be used externally.
Healing tea mixture
To use as an expectorant
1 ½ oz. malva 1 oz. marshmallow 1oz. fennel seeds
Use 1-2 tsp. of the mixture per cup of hot water. These plants are highly mucilaginous and promote expectoration, reduce inflammation and calm coughs. Sweeten with honey, if desired. Steep 10 min; strain
To treat colds and hoarseness
2 oz. malva 1 ½ oz. mullein flowers
Use 1-2 tsp. of the mixture per cup of hot water. The saponins membranes and enhance malva's effect. This tea also lubricants the vocal cords. Drink the tea until the symptoms abate. Steep 10 min; strain
To soothing diarrhea and cramps
1 ½ oz. malva 1oz. chamomile flowers 1 oz. peppermint
Use 1-2 tsp. of the mixture per cup of hot water. Malva and chamomile relieve cramps and peppermint stimulates digestion. Steep 10 min; strain.