Malva sylvestris

Author: martina teti
Date: 17/03/2013


Rozzo Giulia e Teti Martina


Malva, from the latin verb mollire and the greek ammolire (emollient plant); sylvestris, wild, from silva.
The entire plant has exhibited therapeutic properties, but in general the pharmacological effects of Malva are assigned to the leaves and flowers, especially due to the presence of some flavonoids and mucilages in these parts. The flowers of M. sylvestris are almost odourless and have a mucilaginous taste when chewed.


Native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, is a member of:
class Equisetopsida
subclass Magnoliidae
superorder Rosanae
order Malvales
family Malvaceae
genus Malva

There are several varieties:
- Sylvestris
- Glabra
- Ambigua
- Polymorpha
- Erecta

Ethnobotanical and scientific aspects of Malva sylvestris L.: a millennial herbal medicine.2012


  • Amino acids/protein derivatives
  • Flavonoids

Flavonols and flavones with additional OH groups at the C-8 A ring and/or the C-5′ B ring positions are characteristic of this family, demonstrating chemotaxonomic significance.
M. sylvestris¬ has significant quantities of these substances.
In a study involving the nutraceutical potential of its extracts, the total flavonoids have been found in leaves, flowers, immature fruits and flowered stems, respectively.
In the leaves, gossypetin 3-sulphate-8-O-b-dglucoside gossypin and hypolaetin 3′-sulphate were identified as the major constituents.
In the flowers have been found especially anthocyanins such as malvidin 3,5-diglucoside
(malvin), oenin, delphinidin, genistein, myricetin and derivatives of apigenin,
quercetin and kaempferol .
Figure shows the chemical structures of some flavonoids found in M. sylvestris.

  • Mucilages

Mucilages are one of the major components responsible for the therapeutic effects of Malva, mainly due to their anticomplementary and cough suppression activities.
The mucilages consist mainly of glucuronic acid, galacturonic acid, rhamnose, galactose, fructose, glucose and sucrose.

  • Other components
    • Terpenoids
    • Phenol derivatives
    • Enzymes: sulphite oxidase
    • Coumarins
    • Vitamins: tocopherols (vitaminE) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
    • Fatty acids/sterols
    • Pigments: chlorophyll A, chlorophyll B and xanthophylls.


Among the numerous species used in folk medicine, Malva sylvestris stands out due to its variety of uses, with its consumption reported to have originated in 3000 BC.
Nowadays, the consumption of Malva is widespread, because new research has revealed important therapeutic properties for different disorders:

  • gastrointestinal disturbance
    • anti-ulcerogenic; Recently, the anti-ulcerogenic effect of M. sylvestris was demonstrated using aqueous extracts in rats with induced gastric ulcers. After a month of treatment, a maximum protection of 37% was achieved. This level of anti-ulcerogenic activity was similar to that of cimetidine, a reference drug that showed 30% maximum protection.
    • against heartburn,dyspepsia
    • mild laxative
    • abdominal pains, the antinociceptive effects of the aqueous extract are related to the inhibition of the prostaglandin synthesis pathway cyclooxygenase and unrelated to the stimulation of the opioid receptors.
  • infection
    • M. sylvestris extract has stronger antimicrobial properties. The combination of Malva and CPC (cetylpyridinium chloride) demonstrated synergistic antimicrobial activity against 28 strains of Staphylococcus aureus ( MRSA), while mouthwashes containing only CPC were effective against only three strains.
      A moderate to low antimicrobial response was also achieved against different strains of Helicobacter pylori using ethanolic extracts obtained from the leaves and inflorescences.
    • Moreover the aqueous extract of leaves was the only preparation of M. sylvestris that had significant antimicrobial properties against fungi,such as Aspergillus candidus, Aspergillus niger, Penicillium spp., and Fusarium culmorum; however, this extract was ineffective against C. albicans.
  • dermatological ailments
    • burns, ulcerous wounds
    • skin eruption , furuncles
    • emollient
  • inflammation
    • genito-urinary, urological disorders
    • traet rheumatism
    • mouth, throat, eyes inflammations
  • respiratory complaints
    • cough, expectorant, mainly due to its anticomplementary and cough suppression activities.
    • asthma, laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis
  • other relevant uses
    • sedative
    • menstrual pain and vaginal infections
    • diuretic and depurative
    • antioxidant. The plant’s antioxidant capacity has also been established in different assay, both aqueous extract ,essential oil and, overall, ethanolic and methanolic extracts obtained from the seeds and leaves have antioxidant activity.
      Antioxidant properties include radical scavenging activity, reducing power and lipid peroxidation inhibition in liposomes and brain cell homogenates.
      The powerful antioxidant effects of the leaf methanolic extracts have been attributed to the presence of antioxidant substances, such as phenols, flavonoids, carotenoids and tocopherols, in this part of the plant.
      Recently, has been found that Gossypin, a pentahydroxy glucosyl flavones, plays one of the most important rules in the antioxidant activities.

Leaves, flowers, immature fruits and leafy flowered stems of Malva sylvestris: a comparative study of the nutraceutical potential and composition.2010

The protective effect of Malva sylvestris on rat kidney damaged by vanadium.2011


Herbal tea : 3% , a cup , sipping slowly , 2-3 times a day, as a mild laxative against constipation.

Infusion: 5% : swishing , gargling , washes, compresses soaked infused several times a day thanks to its expectorant and antitussive properties.

Decoction: 1.5% as a mouthwash ; 5% ( 5- 10 g ) as a regulator of intestinal function, 4-5 tablespoons in one liter of water, drink throughout the day.

Powder: 200 mg capsules : 2 cps morning and evening with meals .



Gossypin is a pentahydroxy glucosyl flavones, inhibits the transforming growth factor beta-activated kinase-1-mediated NF-kB activation pathway.

Nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) is an inducible transcription factor for genes involved in cell survival, adhesion, inflammation, differentiation, and growth.
It regulates the genes that are critical in the early and late stages of aggressive cancers, including cyclin D1, apoptosis-suppressor proteins such as Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, and genes required for metastasis and angiogenesis such as matrix metalloprotease (MMP) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
NF-kB activation is induced by inflammatory stimuli such as TNF, interleukin-1, and LPS, prooxidants such as H2O2 and carcinogens such as okadaic acid, tumor promoter, and
cigarette smoke.

Tumor necrosis factor induces Bcl-2 and Bcl-x expression through NFkappaB activation in primary hippocampal neurons.1999.



  • inhibition of inducible NF-kB activation by suppressing TAK-1-mediated IKK activation.
    In this way results the inhibition of IkBa phosphorylation , necessary to the ubiquitination of IkB and its degradation, p65 phosphorylation and translocation and NF-kB-mediated gene transcription.
  • Besides inducible NF-kB activation, gossypin also suppressed the constitutive activation of NF-kB, commonly seen in a wide variety of tumors, blocking cyclin D1, c-myc, and COX-2 transcription,essential for cellular proliferation and survival.
    Expression of the c-myc oncoprotein prevents cell-cycle arrest in response to growth-inhibitory signals, differentiation stimuli, and mitogen withdrawal. Moreover, myc activation in quiescent cells is sufficient to induce cell cycle entry in the absence of growth factors.
    Cyclin D1 exercises powerful control over the mechanisms that regulate the mitotic cell cycle. Our results indicate that gossypin inhibits the TNF-induced expression of these two genes, suggesting that it is a potent inhibitor of the cell cycle. The suppression of tumor cell proliferation by gossypin may therefore be linked to the inhibition of expression of these gene products. The expression of most antiapoptotic gene products was also suppressed by this
    Moreover gossypin inhibited the MMP-9 expression,TNF-induced COX-2 expression and invasive activity, suggesting that gossypin not only blocks primary tumor development, but also malignant progression.
  • Gossypin’s suppression of NF-kB activation was also associated with inhibition of TNF-induced invasion and RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis, both in mouse primary bone marrow cells and in vitro. RANKL has been shown to play a critical role in osteoclastogenesis (process of bone loss commonly associated with aging and cancer).
  • Gossypin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant activity. It is possible that gossypin mediates its effects on NF-kB activation by quenching oxygen free radicals.
  • Gossypin inhibited TNF-induced VEGF expression in vitro, demonstrating its antiangiogenic activity.

Gossypin, a pentahydroxy glucosyl flavone, inhibits the transforming growth factor beta-activated kinase-1-mediated NF-kappaB activation pathway, leading to potentiation of apoptosis, suppression of invasion, and abrogation of osteoclastogenesis.2007


There are not toxic effects, Malva is defined as a plant absolutely secure , since it does not involve any particular sfide effect; although hypersensitivity to one or more active principles contained in the drug is possible.
To the high content of mucilage is not recommended with concomitant use of other drugs as they may alter the absorption of these correctly.

Interest in this plant has increased worldwide, and in recent years, the number of patents has
increased considerably. On the other hand, few studies involving clinical and toxicological research have been performed, making necessary further studies to elucidate the relationships
between phytochemicals and mechanisms of disease treatment. It will then be possible to guarantee the benefits of safe Malva product use in the population.

2013-09-07T17:14:33 - martina teti
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