Make an online Consultation »  
brahmasuvarcala - Malva sylvestris Linn.

brahmasuvarcala - Malva sylvestris Linn. - Malvaceae

brahmasuvarcala :

Malva sylvestris Flowering stem Photograph by: Alvesgaspar Malva sylvestris is a species of the mallow genus Malva in the family of Malvaceae and is considered to be the type species for the genus. Known as common mallow to English-speaking Europeans,it acquired the common names of cheeses, high mallow and tall mallow (mauve des bois by the French) as it migrated from its native home in Western Europe, North Africa and Asia through the English-speaking world.


Greeks and Romans used it as a medicine on account of its mucilaginous and cooling properties. It also finds mention in Persian literature as medicine. All parts of this plant were commended in Unani works on account of their mucilaginous and cooling properties.

In Jewish culture, mallow has been been considered the most important plant in local gather society. Every spring mallow is gathered in the countryside. Its common name in both Hebrew and Arabic, translates to bread. 

During the war of 1948, when Jerusalem was under siege, mallow was an important famine crop, and one that is still celebrated on Independence day every year with a traditional dish made from mallow leaves.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Streptophyta
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Malva
Species: Malva sylvestris


Sanskrit: Suvarchalaa (var.)
English: Mallow, High mallow, French Hollyhock, Common Mallow, Tree Mallow, Tall Mallow
Hindi: Gurchanti, Sochol
Urdu: Gul-i-khubazi, Khubbazi, गुले ख़ैर Gul-e-khair, Tukhm gul-i-khair, Gul-e-khubazi, Tukhm-e-khubbazi
Marathi: Kubaajee
Kannada: Seeme Bende, Sanna bindee gida, Sanna Bindige Gida
Arabic: خبازى (خُبازى)، خبيزه (خُبيزه), رقمه (رَقْمه)، رقميه
Spanish: Malva
French: (mauve des bois
German: malve


Its common name in both Hebrew and Arabic, translates to bread. 

The word "mallow" is derived from Old English "mealwe", which was imported from Latin "malva", cognate with Ancient Greek μαλάχη (malakhē) meaning "mallow", both perhaps reflecting a Mediterranean term


Synonyms in Ayurveda: brahmasuvarcala , Suvarchalaa (var.)

Rasa: Kashaya Tikta
Guna: Laghu Snigdha
Veerya: Sheetha
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Kaphahara Pittahara Vatahara

All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve


Landscape Uses:Border, Massing. A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil and in poor soils. It prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position, where it will produce a better crop of salad leaves. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. Mauritiana is larger than the type with much more ornamental flowers. The flavour of the leaves and flowers is considered by many to be superior to the type species. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Prone to infestation by rust fungus. 


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


Leaves, in spring; flowers from late spring; seed pods from early summer. Roots could be harvested from larger rosettes whenever large enough.


The herb contains sulphated flavonol glycosides, mucilage and tannins. Flowers contain malvin (an anthocyanin), malvidin diglucoside, tannins, carotene and ascorbic acid.


Important formulations 
1. Koflet by Himalayas 

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Flower, Leaves, Root, Seed, ,


---Fluid extract, 1/2 to 2 drachms.


Common mallow can be substituted for the family relative Corchorus olitorius aka jutes mallow,


The seed pods can be substituted for most of the egg white if wanting to make mallow meringues


Mallow has similar properties, but is considered to be inferior to the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) and are seldom used internally

Commercial value:

The seed capsules look like cheese, in which the disk-shaped seeds are pressed against each other and sitting in a circle. The plant can be used as cut flower and is an excellent bee and butterfly plant.


Malva sylvestris is a spreading herb, which is an annual in North Africa,biennial in the Mediterranean and a perennial elsewhere. It can be straight or decumbent,[3][8] branched, and covered with fine soft hairs or none at all,[10] M. sylvestris is pleasing in appearance when it first starts to flower, but as the summer advances, "the leaves lose their deep green color and the stems assume a ragged appearance".

The leaves are borne upon the stem, are roundish, with numerous lobes, each 2–4 centimetres (0.79–1.57 in) long, 2–5 centimetres (0.79–1.97 in) and 5–10 centimetres (2.0–3.9 in) in diameter. The leaves have hairs radiating from a common center, with prominent veins on the underside.


Described as reddish-purple, bright pinkish-purple with dark stripes and bright mauve-purple, the flowers of Malva sylvestris appear in axillary clusters of 2 to 4 and form irregularly and elongated along the main stem with the flowers at the base opening first.

M. sylvestris has an epicalyx (or false calyx) with oblong segments, two-thirds as long as calyx or 2–3 millimeters long and 1.5 millimeters wide. Its calyx is free to the middle, 3–6 millimeters long, with broadly triangular lobes or ovate mostly 5–7 millimeters long. The flowers are 2–4 times as long as the calyx;

Nutlets strongly reticulate (10–12 mericarps, usually without hair, with sharp angle between dorsal and lateral surfaces, 5–6 mm in diameter.

Also called cheeses, seeds are brown to brownish green when ripe, about 2.5 millimeters long and wide 5 to 7 millimeters in diameter[8] and are shaped like a cheese wheel.


There were three discrete groups of initials in the embryonic root: those of the central cylinder, cortex, and secondary columella. The secondary columella initials consisted of a plate of cells flanked by a ring of cortical initials. The lateral portion of the rootcap shared a common origin with the epidermis. During growth both the initials of the secondary columella and outer cortex produced rootcap cells. The first indication of the outer cortical initials participating in rootcap formation was observed in roots 3 cm long. In 6‐, 9‐, and 16‐cm roots the cellular continuity between the outer cortex and rootcap was marked, but in 23‐ and 33‐cm roots the histogenic continuity between the outer cortex and rootcap was not evident. In all growth stages the initials of the central cylinder and inner cortex retained their histogenic integrity.

Geographical distribution:

Global Distribution
Eurasia - Britain to Portugal, east through Ciscaucasia and Turkey to Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, the Himalayas; N. Africa - Morocco to Egypt and Levant

India: Assam; Europe, Africa, Asia

Indian Distribution
Throughout Assam


Waste ground, field verges and roadsides, avoiding acid soils
Shrub thickets, open woods, parks, gardens, waste places, orchards, cereal fields, field borders, waysides and fences

Plant conservation:

Least Concerns 

General Use:

The seeds are antitussive, astringent, cooling, decongestant, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, galactagogue, laxative and lubricant. The seeds are also mucilaginous and therefore soothing to the mucous membranes lining the upper respiratory system. They can also be taken to calm inflammation in the digestive tract and to treat symptoms of constipation and colitis. Also useful in colds, cough, bronchitis, inflamed tissues, gastroenteritis, gastric ulcers, sore throat and irritable bowel syndrome.

Therapeutic Uses:

The topical application of Country Mallow oil relieves nervous disorders such as monoplegia, sciatica and palsy.
The anti-asthmatic properties of the herb alleviate bronchial and respiratory tract disorders.

Systemic Use:

Flowers and immature fruits are used for whooping cough. It is official in the French and Swiss Pharmacopoeias


Fluid extract


anti-inflammatory, pectoral, antidysenteric and diaphoretic.

Clinical trials:

1.Dey, William Mair, Kanny Lall; Mair, William (1896). "Indigenous Drugs of India". The indigenous drugs of India: short descriptive notices of the principal medicinal products met with in British India. Thacker, Spink & Co. pp. 387 pages. Retrieved 10 May 2008.


1. Bailey, Liberty Hyde (1910). "Dyes and Dyeing. C.S. Doggert". Cyclopedia of American agriculture: a popular survey of agricultural conditions, practices and ideals in the United States and Canada, In Four Volumes. Volume II --Crops. Macmillan Publishers. pp. 2016 pages. Retrieved 10 May 2008


Avoid with gallstones
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of mallow during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use

Toxicity studies:

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. .

Use in other system of medicine:

Unani                            : Febrifuge; for blepharitis and all inflammatory conditions; internally good for sore throat, chronic bronchitis, jaundice  and   scorpion sting.


The common mallow (Malva sylvestris) has a range of medicinal and food uses, and can be found across the globe, from Asia to Africa and Europe. Common mallow can be found growing erect or prostrate, which may initially cause confusion because its easy to assume they might be two different species. Mallow is known to freely seed. The round seed pods, known as cheeses, soon follow flowering. These were once munched by children on their way to and from school. The pods are held on stalks, close to the flowering stem. As with many wild food plants, the common mallow has also had a long history of medicinal use. Due to its high mucilage content, mallows make excellent soothing demulcent herbs, especially for cases of inflammation, either for the urinary, digestive or respiratory systems.

Photos of brahmasuvarcala -

Malva sylvestris

KEY WORDS: brahmasuvarcala Malva sylvestris Linn.

Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter  

Kotakkal Ayurveda - Mother land of modern ayurveda