The University Gardens

Althaea officinalis (marsh-mallow)

The ‘medicinal hollyhock’, also used in sweets

Althaea officinalis
Reidun Myking

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The marsh-mallow, Althaea officinalis, goes by the name of ‘legestokkrose’ in Norwegian, literally meaning ‘medicinal hollyhock’. It has a long tradition of use as a medicinal plant. Extracts from the roots have similar properties to those of leaves of species of Malva, but they are produced in greater quantities. Althaea root was therefore widely available from pharmacies historically, used as a remedy for burns and as cough medicine. Several specimens are preserved in the Besche herbarium from 1719.

‘Medicinal hollyhock’ is also used in the production of both industrial and home-made sweets, as related by the former professor Knut Fægri in ‘Norges planter’.

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