Thursday, November 19, 2009
Hollyhock/Garden Mallow/Almindelig Stokrose
Alcea rosea/Althaea rosea
Hollyhock comes from southern Europe and the East,where it grows wild in glades in the forests. The plant can be dated back to the English garden books from 1440 and seeds were brought to Europe from China. Remains of hollyhocks have been found in a Neanderthal burial site. Alcea is an old Greek plant name and rosea means rosy red. The Danish name Stokrose refers to the rose-like flowers which are placed upon a long stok. (stem)
Folk Medicine (Marsh Mallow/Læge-Stokrose/Althaea officinalis)
Both flowers, leaves and roots were used. The boiled roots were effective against coughing, but also an extract from flowers and leaves in alcohol or as a tea was good against coughing and inflammation of the oral cavity. The extract could also ease a tootache. The dark coloured flowers were said to be the best, and the red colour told that it was especially meant for diseases of the blood. Roots were chewed for digestive problems, and the green leaves were used in order to soothe the pain from burns. Extract from the leaves were used against scurvy.
The flowers can be cut and sprinkled in salads.
The red marsh-mallow was drunk in tea against blood-diseases. If you eat the seed you were protected against the bite from poisonous animals. In the old days people planted the marsh-mallow close to the house because they meant it prevented lightning.
Hollyhoc was used for plant dye, where the flowers can give a blue-black colour, the plant fibres were used for rope. Flowers were cooked in soups.
Source: Anemette Olesen,Danske klosterurter, 2001.
photo ⓒStokrose 2007/2008: grethe bachmann