Herb: Chinese Mallow

Latin name: Malva verticillata

Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

Medicinal use of Chinese Mallow:

The seed contains mucilage, polysaccharides and flavonoids. It is demulcent, diuretic, emollient, galactogogue and laxative. The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are considered to have a sweet and astringent taste plus a heating potency. They are used in the treatment of renal disorders, the retention of fluids, frequent thirst and diarrhoea. The root is used to cause vomiting in the treatment of whooping cough. The leaves and stems are said to be digestive. They are given to women in the advanced stages of pregnancy.

Description of the plant:


180 cm
(6 feet)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

On plains and in arable fields.

Edible parts of Chinese Mallow:

Leaves - raw or cooked. 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. We use them as a tasty alternative to the lettuce. Young seeds - raw or cooked. Used when green and immature. A pleasant nutty taste but the seed is too small and fiddly for most people to want to harvest.

Other uses of the herb:

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

Propagation of Chinese Mallow:

Seed - sow early spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.

Cultivation of the herb:

On plains and in arable fields.

Known hazards of Malva verticillata:

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. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.