You can eat a hollyhock – I am sure you never thought of that! But it’s true. There is more to this plant than just its ornamental beauty. You can eat its flowers, leaves and even roots. A close relative of Marshmallow, it is quite often used in the place of the latter.
Known more commonly as an ornamental plant, Alcea rosea, also known as Hollyhock, is a storehouse of benefits and has been acknowledged as a medicinal plant since time immemorial. A proven cure for cold and cough, the Hollyhock plant was used by the ancient Greeks to heal wounds and dysentery.
Skin Benefits of Hollyhocks:
1. For a Moisturized, Hydrated Skin:
The extract of this plant is known to hydrate the skin, lock in the moisture and keep the skin supple and soft. The non-greasy emollient is known for its softening and smoothening properties, making it a welcome home remedy for dry skin. The extract is also known to give the skin added pliability and elasticity, keeping it young and radiant.
2. Cure for Skin Inflammations:
The anti-inflammatory activities of Hollyhock roots are really admirable. Tests conducted during the 1960s suggest that these roots possess the potential to ease various skin conditions, including the flare-ups triggered by eczema and psoriasis. Also, you can heal your cuts, scrapes, and minor wounds with a poultice of the roots of this herb.
3. Soothes Burns and Ulcers:
Grab some Althaea stems or roots and apply it on your burns. They soothe pain and inflammation while healing the blisters. The hydrating properties of the roots lock in the moisture and ensure faster healing while preventing the affected area from drying out.
Hair Benefits of Hollyhocks:
4. Keeps Hair Soft and Luxurious:
Hollyhock is beneficial for those who have dry, brittle, and/or fragile hair. It is a natural conditioning agent that captures and retains the moisture. A very effective tonic for fragile, brittle hair, it gives the locks the much needed elasticity, making them soft and radiant. Use it as an herbal rinse for added richness.
5. Natural Detangling Solution:
One of the major problems with curly hair is that it gets tangled easily and detangling it is, unarguably, the toughest of the tasks. You can now take the help of the infusion made with the roots of this herb. Along with hydrating the dry curls, it soothes out the tangles, making your hair tangle-free instantly.
6. Natural Way to Color Your Hair:
You can now color your hair naturally with a rinse made with the flowers of Hollyhocks. Add a handful of the bluish purple flowers of this plant to boiling hot water. Simmer and steep the infusion for 10 minutes. Strain into a bottle after cooling. Spray on your hair and leave on for 15 minutes. Shampoo your hair and rinse off.
The yellow highlights in your gray hair will get a beautiful makeover with this simple dyeing magic. You can use this as frequently as you wish so to keep those yellow highlights hidden. For others, use it twice a week to get a rich hue, without causing any damage to your hair!
Health Benefits of Hollyhocks:
7. Natural Antidote for Respiratory Conditions:
Is your sore throat troubling you? Drink hollyhock. It soothes the throat, while clearing the clogged mucous membranes. While flowers and leaves are good, make sure you sip the infusion made from the roots for faster recovery.
8. Antipyretic Agent:
High fever may not be a disease in itself, but it sure can make you feel down! Lower the fever with a dose of hot tisane prepared with the dried roots and fresh flowers of Alcea. Simmer 2 tbsp fresh flowers of this plant with ½ a tbsp each of its roots and seeds and 2 tbsp lemon balm in 2 pints boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain, flavor with honey, and sip three cups a day to keep the fever away.
The Hollyhock seeds can also be used in a hot tisane and are said to help reduce the symptoms of fevers.
9. Innate Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Properties:
External application of these beautiful plants in the form of poultice is known to offer quick relief from painful inflammatory conditions. Use the thick leaves, steam them and dab it on the affected area while warm. Insulate with a clean towel and wrap with clean cloth to ensure that the swelling and pain subsides.
10. Stimulates Appetite:
Hollyhock roots can be consumed as an appetite stimulant. Various studies have proven that the starchy nature of the roots improves appetite levels of the body.
11. Good for Women:
Ancient Tibetan medicine used the flowers and roots of Alcea to ease the inflammation in the womb as well as kidneys. It was also used to cure vaginal discharge.
12. Source of Vitamins and Minerals:
The Hollyhock roots make an excellent addition to a healthy diet. The edible roots of this flowering plant contains decent amounts of Vitamin B complex and vitamin C. Plus, one can also find assorted minerals including calcium, copper, iron, zinc, and iodine in the roots.
13. Cure for Digestive Tracts Issues:
The anti-inflammatory properties of the roots and leaves of this herb can be reaped by people who suffer from various digestive issues. Research indicate that the plant has the potential to offer cure for conditions such as mouth ulcers, colitis, enteritis, peptic ulcers, and even hiatus hernias.
14. Eases teething Issues in Infants:
The Althaea roots are known to be safe on infants. Make a mouthwash with the roots and ease the irritation they experience while teething. Along with soothing the irritation, the analgesic properties help in reducing the pain that is often accompanied while teething.
15. Improves Blood Circulation:
A decoction made with Hollyhock flowers is known to have positive impact on your blood circulation levels. Just consume 5 ml every day and see the difference yourself.
A Word of Caution:
While Hollyhock is known to be safe for most people, it is always advisable to check with your doctor, as with all alternative medicines. No studies are available to shed light on the impact of this herb during pregnancy and lactation. So, to be on a safer side, if you fall into either of the categories, do not use this herb.
These are what Hollyhock has in store for us. Have you ever used this herb? If so, do share your experiences with us.