Indian mallow is an erect, woody plant. It is velvety, shrubby and greyish green in colour. It grows upto one and a half metre in length. It has solitary yellow flowers which bloom in the evening. The fruits are flat-topped, with radiating points and grey, kidney-shaped seeds. The plant is covered with an aromatic oily substance. This oil coating is less pronounced in young plants than in well grown plants. Its bark, roots, leaves and seeds are all used in medicine. The plant contains an alkaloid asparagin.
The roots and the mucilagenous bark increase the secretion and discharge of urine, besides proving to be a pulmonary sedative. The herb is laxative and tonic. It promotes libido and is useful in relieving feverishness 'and producing a feeling of coolness.
The Indian mallow is valuable in fevers. Its infusion is used for this purpose.
A decoction of the herb can be given in bronchitis, catarrh and biliousness.
Its seeds are laxative, and very effective in curing piles, if administered in doses of 4 to 8 grams.
The drug has a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes. Its paste can be applied either by itself or mixed with coconut milk on the affected parts in case of abscess, carbuncle, scabies and itches. A poultice of the leaves can also be applied on boils and ulcers.
Indian mallow is useful in allaying irritation of the skin and in alleviating swelling and pain. Its decoction can be used effectively as fomentation on painful parts of the body. It can also be used as a mouthwash for toothache and tender gums.
The seeds are useful in killing threadworms, if the rectum of the affected child be exposed to the smoke of the powdered seeds.
Methods for Uses: The leaves should be dried in the shade and powdered for use when required. A decoction can also be extracted from the herb.