The small leaved Mallow grows on old walls, near paths and on waste ground, always in the neighborhood of human habitation. Should it be found far from it, it indicates that once a house stood there.
The large leaved Mallow - Malva grandifolia - and other varieties are mostly found growing in flower and vegetable gardens. Both plants contain mucilage and tannin in leaves, flowers and stems. The small leaved Mallow is somewhat creeping and slightly woody near the root stock. lt has long-stemmed, round toothed leaves and small purple to pale pink flowers. The roundish fruit is called popularly "cheeses". Most country children will have eaten - and played with these "cheeses". The flowers, leaves and stems are gathered from June to September. Since, through drying, mucilage is lost, it is best to use Mallow as fresh as possible. But the dry plant still has medicinal properties.
Mallow tea is especially useful for inflammations of the mucous membranes throughout the body - such as the bladder, gastro-intestinal tract and mouth - for gastritis, as well as for ulcers in the stomach and the intestines. For this the leaves, together with barley, are made into a soup. First the barley is cooked and when cooled, the Mallow leaves are added.
It is especially recommended for phlegm in the lungs, bronchitis, coughs and hoarseness, as well as for laryngitis, tonsillitis and dry mouth. So as not to destroy the mucilage in the plant, the Mallow is soaked in cold water overnight. 2 to 3 cups of the slightly warmed tea are sipped throughout the day. Even for stubborn and, as often represented, incurable emphysema which causes difficult breathing, it is effective. At least 3 cups are drunk per day and the strained and warmed leaves and flowers are applied as a poultice on the chest overnight.
Especially beneficial are eyewashes and eye compresses of the lukewarm Mallow tea for the rarely occurring drying up of the tear ducts.
Washings with the lukewarm Mallow tea are soothing in cases of allergies in the face, which cause itching and burning. Externally, Mallow is used for wounds, ulcers, swollen feel and hands, which result from fractures or phlebitis. In these cases hand or foot baths are taken (see "directions").
I have had great success with these baths. For a fracture of the foot bone, where the foot is again and again overburdened and swells up, Mallow baths are to be specially recommended.
In our neighborhood lives a woman who broke her ankle joint a few years ago. She had constant difficulties with her foot and one day the woman had to return to hospital. I met her after her discharge from the hospital, the foot and leg swollen to above the knee. Although she used a stick, she only came forward at a snail's pace. We gathered fresh Mallow. On the next day the woman began with the foot baths. I do not exaggerate when I relate that after one week she no longer needed the stick, and the foot looked normal again; likewise for another woman with a broken right wrist that caused her difficulties again and again. Which housewife and mother can spare her right hand? Every night the hand throbbed and for a long time it swelled daily. When I met her, I recommended Mallow- In this case as well, it became better very quickly.
A swollen, open foot, even when one is old, is really not necessary. Mallow baths, together with fresh Plantain leaves, help here too. The latter, well washed and still wet, are laid on the open wound. The wound closes overnight and does not open again, even if the wound is 10 to 15 years old or much older. Should you suffer from such open wounds, then follow my advice on the fresh Plantain leaves. You will be surprised how quickly the wounds close. And when reading these lines, do not think: "Mrs. Treben has overstepped the mark this time!" I can only relate what I have been able to gather from my ex presences.
Now I will relate a story, that sounds wonderful, yet is true. lt is astonishing, what this tiny creeping medicinal herb accomplishes. One day I sat alone at a table in a restaurant in Linz. A woman joined me; from the conversation I learned that she had the greatest concern for her husband who had to go to hospital from time to time and had now lost his voice. The doctors always avoided her questions so that at last she feared that it was cancer of the larynx. "Don’t give up hope", I said. "Try the medicinal herbs. We have the valuable Mallow, which helps with inflammation of the larynx. One gargles with it frequently during the day and uses the tea residue - mixed with barley flour - as a warm poultice overnight." This was on a Thursday. We had become really friendly and exchanged addresses. In the following week on Wednesday I received a telephone call from this lady. "My husband is already better. We have done everything, as you said. I have a daughter who is a doctor in Vienna. I told her of my plan to take her father out of the hospital and try medicinal herbs. 'lf it comforts you mother, do it', she said. At the same time I spoke to our specialist who said likewise that he was not against herbs in principle. So I brought my husband home; he gargled and I made him the warm poultices for his throat. A few days ago he had his voice back." A week later came a second call: "My husband is well. He is very hopeful that he can take up teaching again shortly. I would like to tell you, what the specialist said, when l told him all about it: ‘This woman deserves a gold medal!"'
Our good Mallow not only takes away inflammation of the larynx, but also malignant larynx disorders. In such cases, use 21/z litres as the daily ration steeped overnight (one heaped teaspoon of herbs per ¼ litre). In the morning, warm slightly and the prescribed quantity is kept in a thermos flask, rinsed with hot water. Throughout the day, 4 cups are sipped; the rest is used for gargling. For dryness in the mouth, throat and nose, which often makes the patients very nervous, Mallow tea is used frequently as a gargle and rinse throughout the day.
In our time the Mallow which grows mainly by farmhouses, is disappearing more and more. In an attempt to keep moisture and dirt away from the house and to give the outside a nice appearance, a cement strip or a gutter is often laid around the house. Thus the Mallow is prevented from growing in its ancestral location. In this way Man's great helper disappears.