Mallow, Mucilage, and Magic
The gel features that plant you see lying next to the bottle up there.
The plant: mallow
Alternative names: high mallow, tall mallow
Latin/INCI name: Malva Sylvestris
Mallow happens to grow wild in my garden. It pops up all by itself in places of its own choosing and produces glorious purple flowers one would think had nothing more to offer the world than a bit of eye candy.
Ahhh, but there is much more to this plant than pretty purple flowers.
Multifunctional MallowThe history of uses of this plant goes back so far no one is quite sure when it began. Mallow is an edible plant that can be used a plethora of ways.
It is believed the earliest consumption of mallow goes back as far as 3000 BC (ref).
And although the young leaves were boiled and consumed as vegetables (ref.), mallow has mostly been prized for medicinal purposes.
There have been many ailments this plant has been prescribed for throughout history: gastrointestinal problems, dermatological ailments, oral diseases, pain, menstrual problems, the list goes on.
If you want to do a little reading, scroll down the page on this article for an overview of mallows medicinal uses throughout history. It's a pretty impressive list.
This humble plant has an impressive list of chemical constituents:
- amino acids
- phenol derivatives
- fatty acids
- and mucilages (ref)
Mallow contains up to 7.4% mucilage which is present in the leaves, flowers, and even the roots (ref).
The Mucilage is Magic
I used to think mucilage was one thing, but it is a whole collection of things. Some of the mucilages in mallow are:
- glucuronic acid
- galacturinic acid
- and more
Because the mucilage is an important part of mallow's magic. It is the mucilage that is mainly responsible for mallow's therapeutic effects (ref.)
The mucilage is what makes my cleanser so ideal for sensitive skin.
A Little ConfessionAlthough you might have gotten the impression I pluck the plants from my garden to make infusions, glycerites, tinctures, and powders for my cosmetics, I don't. The organic mallow I use is purchased dried from a supplier of herbs.
The plants that decide to appear in my garden are all allowed to function as eye candy – whether they are outside, sitting in a small vase on my windowsill or participating as part of a photo for this blog.
Do TellDo you use mallow in your skincare? What kinds of products do you include it in?
More about Mallow and MucilageMallow, Naturegate
Malva Sylvestris, wikipedia
Blue Mallow, Botanical.com
Malva Sylvestris, Plants for a Future
Ethnobotanical and Scientific Aspects of Malva Sylvestris: a millenial herb medicine, Wiley online library
Mallow - the Natural Skin and Hair softener (this blog)
Mallow Face Cleanser Kit: 1 (this blog)
Mallow face Cleanser Kit: 2 (this blog)
Mallow Hair Gel (this blog)
Mallow as a Colorant (this blog)
Mallow - all natural chemicals (shop blog)
The Magic of Mallow (LisaLise on Youtube)