Common Mallow is a little wild medicine cabinet, albeit a poor man’s version of Marshmallow which has the same properties with higher potency. The uses seem to all stem from the anti-inflammatory properties of the mucilage which is in high concentration. This mucilage forms a thin film over mucous membranes (it acts as a ‘demulcent’) and relieves the swelling and inflammation. So,
If you have toothache, chew the flowers.
If you have a wound, apply a poultice of the leaves and flowers.
Cough and cold? Drink an infusion of the same.
Bee or wasp sting? Crush the flowers in olive oil and apply.
It gets better; if you have kidney stones (gravel) or strangury (check this one for yourself) prepare a strong decoction by boiling up the leaves and flowers and …
…inject(!) The author takes no responsibility for the consequences of any natural remedy given here – he is merely passing on what he reads. Maybe ‘injection’ is Mrs M. Grieve’s old English for ‘drink’ as that’s what you do with Marshmallow for the same disease. Or, maybe you just need a pokier method of bodily introduction to get the most from Marshmallow’s poorer cousin. Either way it won’t be my first thought if ever my kidneys seize up.
Finally, if you’re hungry, eat the leaves raw or boil them up. The high amounts of mucilage make the plant a good thickener of sauces.
This bright young plant was growing on the grass verge along the road at work in Surrey. Notice the notched purple/pink flowers with deep purple veins and the 5-lobed leaves. It can grow to 3 or 4 feet, which is why I called this one ‘young’.
It’s getting late now, but if you want this cure-all medicine for yourself all year around, you have to collect it before it’s in full flower and dry it out thoroughly in the shade before storing in a jar.