One of the first herbs that I began working with many years ago as an amateur herbalist was Malva (Malva sylvestris). My mom would go visit our family in Spain twice a year, and she would always bring me back packets of herbs from the local herbolario. It would feel like Christmas for me getting these packets of dandelion, olive leaf, and other healing herbs. But I was always most drawn to malva aesthetically for its beautiful purple flowers.

Malva is also known as the common marshmallow. Malva, along with the other marshmallows, is a demulcent, which is used for inflammation and irritation. It targets the lungs and upper respiratory system. Along with its demulcent properties, it has a high mucilage (viscous, gelatinous starch; think okra and chia seeds) which helps coat inflamed membranes. This soothing property is great for the throat, ulcers, urinary tract, and can also be used topically for sores and bones. I was drinking Malva as a tea recently when we were having dry, windy weather here on the central coast and I had a sore throat. The tea also has a wonderful calming effect.

Disclosure: If you are on prescription medications, please check with your healthcare provider for herb-drug interactions prior to ingesting any herbs.

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