Wax mallow or Malvaviscus arboreus is used in Mexico and Central America as a food, dye, and in folk medicine as a medicinal plant.
Preliminary studies suggest that mallow has several potential health benefits. However, more indepth human research is needed to confirm these findings and evaluate possible interactions between this herb and other supplements and prescription drugs.
Animal studies show max mallow may protect the liver tissue from toxic substancs. Following the use of wax mallow, scientists found improved levels of liver enzymes alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), supporting the protective role of this herb.
Furthermore, wax mallow showed effects comparable to milk thistle, which is well known for its ability to support liver health and gut function.
Another study conducted in animal models shows wax mellow has the potential to manage high blood pressure. The plant has several active ingredients that help relax the blood vessels and improve the blood flow to the heart, similar to the effect of ACE inhibitor medication.
ACE Inhibitors are currently used to treat high blood pressure and heart diseases. Scientists are optimistic that wax mallow could be a step toward discovery of new blood pressure drugs to better manage high blood pressure.
An extract made with fresh wax mellow flowers helps protect the stomach against damage and manage stomach ulcers, according to a preliminary study. The plant showed great potential even when compared with famotidine, a well-established antiulcer drug.
Two flavonoids in wax mallow appear to be responsible for its gastroprotective activity.
Laboratory tests reveal that wax mellow is a great source of antioxidants, which can fight free radicals that damage cells.
Excess free radicals occur naturally with the aging process and when a person is exposed to pollutants and stress. These radicals cause so-called oxidative stress and are linked to almost all chronic conditions, from diabetes, to arthritis, heart diseases, cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease.
A review of multiple herbs showed that extract of wax mallow may help manage or fight diabetes.
In one study, mallow had the ability to inhibit two compounds that delay the breakdown of carbohydrates in the small intestine and reduce blood sugar levels after meals in people with diabetes.
Since mallow is a great source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds, scientists evaluated its potential role in fighting infectious microbes. According to one study, an extract from this herb may help foodborne illnesses, as it has the ability to fight bacteria like E. coli 25922 and L. monocytogenes.
Wax mallow appears to have anti-seizure effects, at least in animal studies, thanks to plant compounds like saponins, phenols, and tannins.
Extracts were found non-toxic when scientists ran the acute toxicity test, and thus wax mallow could be a safe and effective compound to manage epilepsy, either alone or in combination with prescription medications that doctors currently prescribe.
Wax mallow is used in Mexico and Central America as a food and herbal medicine. The leaves and flowers are added to salads or used in teas and dyes. Herbalists from Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico recommend this plant to help manage fever, respiratory symptoms, various conditions affecting the liver and gallbladder, dysentery, cough, digestive problem including gastritis and stomach aches from other causes.
Wax mallow is generally considered safe to use. Like any other plant compound, it can trigger an allergic reaction in people allergic to any of the components.
As a medicinal plant, mellow was often administered as an extract. Based on the research available, which is limited to test tubes and animal subjects, wax mallow extracts are also safe and non-toxic. However, more tests are needed.
Wax mallow shows the potential to fight conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, seizures, and stomach ulcers — diseases that affect millions of people all around the world. Well-designed studies in humans are needed to confirm these benefits, however, before experts can approve its widescale recommendation and use.
Meanwhile, the most medically advisable way to benefit from wax mallow is to incorporate it as a food in salads, to add more healthy antioxidant compounds to your diet.
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