Musk Mallow, Dainty and Elegant Yet Very Nutritious

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Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata)
Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata)
(Photo by: Mick Talbot/Flickr)

With delicate pink flowers, you might not have guessed it, but the beautiful musk mallow plant (Malva moschata) is edible. In fact, all parts of this plant are edible and good for your health. This includes its roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds. This elegant perennial plant is native to the British Isles, mainland Europe, and southwestern Asia. Musk mallow has long been cultivated across the world both for its beauty and its medicinal properties.

Edibility and culinary use

Musk mallow leaves, flowers, roots, and seeds are all edible. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked and they have a mild sweet taste. Fresh musk mallow leaves can be chopped up and added to salads. They can also be used as a thickening agent for soups or cooked like spinach.

The elegant flowers taste quite similar to the leaves, just slightly milder. They’re best served raw to preserve their beautiful appearance and taste. They’re usually used as an edible garnish on salads and desserts. Meanwhile, the seeds have a nutty flavor and can be eaten raw as a snack. But the seeds are rather small and a bit hard to harvest due to their size.

Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Alba/White Variant
Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Alba/White Variant
(Photo by: Kurt Stüber/Wikimedia Commons)

Lastly, the roots, leaves, and flowers can be boiled to make herbal tea. The resulting tea has a mildly sweet taste and a musky fragrant. Musk mallow tea is exceptionally good for healing sore throats and upset stomachs. It can also be used as a mild natural laxative for constipation.

Health benefits

Musk mallow is mucilaginous, which means the plant has demulcent and emollient properties. Additionally, it’s rich in vitamin A, B, and C. It also contains a considerable amount of magnesium, potassium, and calcium. The leaves and flowers can be ingested to help the treatment of diseases in the respiratory, digestive, and urinary system. They can also be crushed and applied topically to heal bruises, insect bites, irritations, and inflammations.

Ancient communities had been using musk mallow as a medicinal herb for a very long time. Its health benefits are undoubtedly great. You can include the leaves and flowers in your daily diet to reap its benefits. But, it’s recommended to brew the leaves, flowers, or roots to make tea as it would be more concentrated and potent.

Cultivation

Gardeners and plant enthusiasts are usually trying to expand their plant collection. If you’re one of them, perhaps you should consider musk mallow. With its dainty pink flowers, this plant will certainly bring a touch of elegance to your garden.

Musk mallow is easy to grow from seed and readily self-seeds. The seed itself can remain viable in the ground for years. Sow directly in the ground in their final position in the spring or the autumn by simply pressing the seed into the soil. Alternatively, scatter the seeds and rake them in. Plants prefer a reasonably dry fertile soil and a sunny position.

Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Flowers
Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Flowers
(Photo by: Albert H./Wikimedia Commons)

Sow the seeds indoors around 7 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. They will germinate in about 2 or 3 weeks. Once the danger of the last frost has passed, you can transfer them outside. Make sure to give around 2’ of space in between each seedling. Once settled, you need to water and fertilize them often to ensure their growth. They will start blooming in the same year, from early summer to early autumn.

Cautions

Overconsumption of musk mallow may cause headaches and dizziness. It should also be noted that the leaves may contain high levels of nitrate if the plant grows on nitrogen-rich soil. Having too much nitrate in your diet is toxic and can cause serious health problems. So, you need to pay attention to where you get your musk mallow. Otherwise, eating the plant is safe.

Conclusion

This wonderful plant is one of the earliest cited plants, dating back to 8th century BC. Throughout history, musk mallow had always been cultivated for their beauty, medicinal properties, nutritional benefits, and pleasant taste. Musk mallow is a wonderful plant to have in your garden; it adds a splash of color while providing you with a valuable and nutritious food source.


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Writen by Cornelia Tjandra
Cornelia is a freelance writer with a passion for bringing words to life and sharing useful information with the world. Her educational background in natural science and social issues has given her a broad base to approach various topics with ease. Learn more about her writing services on Upwork.com or contact her directly by email at cornelia.tjandra@gmail.com



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Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb from the mint family. It’s native to the Mediterranean region and Central Asia, but it has been also naturalized in Europe, Asia, and America. The most distinctive feature of lemon balm is its refreshing fragrance that’s a mixture of citronella and mint. This plant typically grows up to 18” to 26” in height. In the summer, this plant produces small white or yellowish blossoms that attract honey bees.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) Illustration
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) Illustration
(Photo by: Franz Eugen Köhler/Wikimedia Commons)

People have been cultivating lemon balm since ancient times as an all-purpose plant. It can be grown as an ornamental plant, used in honey production, used as an herb, and used for oil production. The Ancient Greeks and Romans had even used this plant as part of their culinary and medicinal tradition.

Edibility and culinary use

Lemon balm leaves are commonly dried and then brewed to make tea. The result is a tasty and relaxing herbal tea with hints of minty citrus flavor. This tisane has a mild sedative effect. As a result, it can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s also effective in aiding sleeping disorders and enhancing cognitive performances.

With its delicate citrus flavor, the leaves are also a great addition to many different dishes. They’re great as a substitute for lemon zest or lemon peel. These leaves taste especially wonderful in beverages and sweet dishes like cakes, ice cream, sorbet, and fruit salads. The leaves can also be used to season soups, sauces, and marinades. The fresh tangy flavor pairs exceptionally well with chicken, beef, pork, and fish.

Health benefits

One of the most important compounds in lemon balm is called rosmarinic acid. This acid has potent antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Lemon balm also contains essential oils, such as citrol, citronellol, caryophyllene, and geraniol, which have antiviral, carminative (anti-gas), and antispasmodic properties.

All of these compounds make lemon balm a wonderfully potent medicinal herb. When applied topically, it can help heal insect bites and cold sores. This herb can also aid gastrointestinal problems, vomiting, heart problems, liver problems, high blood pressure, as well as relieve pain. This herb has even been shown to help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, anxiety, and sleeping disorders.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
(Photo by: Andrea_44/Wikimedia Commons)

Cultivation

Lemon balm is a terrific addition to any garden. Aside from being an ornamental plant, it can also attract pollinators while also repelling bugs like mosquitoes. It’s also a reliable source of medicinal and culinary herb.

Luckily, it’s not hard to cultivate this plant. As a durable perennial plant, lemon balm will be able to thrive and stay in your garden from year to year. They grow in clumps and each bush will grow to around 3’ high. This plant typically withers and dies at the start of the winter but will come back to live in the spring.

Ideally, you should cultivate this plant in a sunny spot with moist but well-drained soil. But, this herb can still tolerate poor soil conditions and partial shade. This herb is drought-resistant, but make sure to water it more often in particularly hot summer days.

Lemon balm leaves can be harvested at any time of the year, except in the winter. It’s best to harvest them in a dry morning since this is when the oil concentration is the highest. You can pick the leaves with your hand or you can cut off some of the stems with a pair of gardening scissors. Try weekly stemming as this will encourage more vigorous growth.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) Flowers
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) Flowers
(Photo by: Krzysztof Ziarnek/Wikimedia Commons)

Cautions

Lemon balm might lower your blood sugar level, so avoid consumption if you’re hypoglycemic. It might also cause excessive drowsiness when combined with certain medications. It’s advisable to stop consuming this herb 2 weeks before surgery. Lastly, it may interfere with thyroid functions. Therefore, it’s not recommended for those with thyroid problems.

Conclusion

Lemon balm is a traditional favorite in all sorts of gardens and it’s not hard to see why. It is truly a wonderful plant. This historic plant has been cultivated all around the globe for millennia for its amazing culinary and medicinal uses. So, why not get some seeds and grow some lemon balm bushes in your garden?


---------------
Writen by Cornelia Tjandra
Cornelia is a freelance writer with a passion for bringing words to life and sharing useful information with the world. Her educational background in natural science and social issues has given her a broad base to approach various topics with ease. Learn more about her writing services on Upwork.com or contact her directly by email at cornelia.tjandra@gmail.com



Featured Videos - eattheplanet.org

Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Subscribe to our mailing list

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg



Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Flowers
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Read more.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
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Read more.
Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Leaves and Flowers
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Read more.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) Flowers
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Read more.
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) Flowers
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Catmint (Nepeta grandiflora) Flowers
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Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) Plant with Pink Blooms
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Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
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Perilla (Perilla frutescens) Green Variant
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Corn Salad, a Tasty and Nutritious Wild Edible

eattheplanet.org is an affiliate marketer. We may earn commission from links to products and services on this page.

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg


Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) lllustration
Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) lllustration
(Photo by:
Otto Wilhelm Thomé /Wikimedia Commons)

The inconspicuous corn salad plant (Valerianella locusta) was once considered a weed. It’s native to Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia where they can be found growing freely in grain fields. In fact, the name corn salad came from the fact that this plant usually grows as a weed in corn fields. But in the 17th century, a French royal gardener started cultivating it and introduced it to the world. It’s especially wonderful to use in salads because of its nutty flavor and soft texture.

Edibility and culinary use

This plant’s dark green leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. They’re typically mixed with other greens in a salad. These leaves have a mildly sweet and nutty flavor, giving it the nickname “mayonnaise of salad greens”. For a delicious salad, pair with a light vinaigrette, oil, or lemon juice as dressings. Corn salad also pairs well with boiled eggs, carrots, tomatoes, beets, fish, and almost all cheeses.

Alternatively, you can also cook this vegetable as you would with spinach. They can be sauteed or added into soups and stews. Just like with spinach, be careful not to overcook corn salad to preserve its mild flavor.

Health benefits

This plant is one of the most nutritious leafy greens out there. Corn salad is very rich in beta-carotene which plays a big role in maintaining immunity, eyesight, and good skin health. It’s a wonderful source of vitamin C which helps the body maintain and repair cells, prevent cardiovascular diseases, and improve the immune system. Vitamin B9 is also found in corn salad. It’s particularly important for growing children and pregnant women because it promotes cellular renewal.

Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Harvested Leaves
Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Harvested Leaves
(Photo by: Schwäbin/Wikimedia Commons)

It’s also a good source of minerals, such as iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Corn salad is full of fiber which promotes a healthy digestive system. This leafy green also contains lots of phytonutrients and antioxidants which can protect you from cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Cultivation

Corn salad is an annual plant that grows well in cooler temperature. In fact, it’s considered a winter vegetable because the harvest period usually lies in early fall and the entirety of winter. Growing this plant in your garden will provide you with delicious leafy greens all year round, including when there aren’t many other greens available. Moreover, corn salad is easy to grow and requires low maintenance, great for beginner gardeners.

Corn salad grows best under full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade. This plant isn’t fussy and can grow in almost any type of soil. But, it will thrive better on nitrogen-rich soil. Before planting, make sure to prepare the soil by adding lots of manure or compost. After the plant has settled, fertilize every 2 or 3 weeks for thick and healthy foliage.

Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Leaves and Flowers
Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Leaves and Flowers
(Photo by: Tico/Flickr)

You can start sowing the seeds in early spring and again in September for fall and winter harvest. Sow seeds directly onto the ground, approximately ¼” to ½” deep and about 1’ apart from each other. They should germinate within one or two weeks. This plant grows quickly and can be harvested within 30 to 60 days after sowing.

Make sure to harvest only the young leaves. Older leaves tend to lose their nutty flavor and has lower nutritional contents. To harvest gather a bunch of leaves together and cut with a sharp knife about 1” to 2” from the soil. This will encourage the plant to grow back.

Cautions

There are no known adverse side effects from eating this plant. It’s generally safe to consume.

Conclusion

Corn salad is a wonderful plant to have. This plant is very hardy and can withstand cold temperatures, allowing them to thrive and provide you with leafy greens all year long. Moreover, with its delicate nutty flavor, it certainly has the taste that will please everyone.


---------------
Writen by Cornelia Tjandra
Cornelia is a freelance writer with a passion for bringing words to life and sharing useful information with the world. Her educational background in natural science and social issues has given her a broad base to approach various topics with ease. Learn more about her writing services on Upwork.com or contact her directly by email at cornelia.tjandra@gmail.com



Featured Videos - eattheplanet.org

Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Subscribe to our mailing list

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg



Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) Flowers
Musk Mallow, Dainty and Elegant Yet Very Nutritious
Read more.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm, the Refreshing and Fragrant Herb
Read more.
Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta) Leaves and Flowers
Corn Salad, a Tasty and Nutritious Wild Edible
Read more.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) Flowers
Comfrey, Slightly Toxic but Holds So Many Health Benefits
Read more.
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) Flowers
Chervil, a Delicate and Versatile Spring Herb
Read more.
Catmint (Nepeta grandiflora) Flowers
Catmint, a Useful and Irresistible Herb
Read more.
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) Plant with Pink Blooms
Bee Balm, Great for Bees and Humans Alike
Read more.
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Anise Hyssop, a Fragrant and Nutritious Herb
Read more.
Perilla (Perilla frutescens) Green Variant
Perilla, a Delicious and Nutritious Asian Edible
Read more.
Borage/Starflower (Borago officinalis)
Borage, the Lovely and Tasty Starflower
Read more.