Health benefits of Country Mallow

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Country mallow

Country mallow Quick Facts
Name: Country mallow
Scientific Name: Sida Cordifolia
Origin India, Cambodia, Sri Lanka
Shapes Loculicidal capsule, with 8 – 10 strongly reticulated mericarps
Taste Sweet, sour, bitter, acrid
Health benefits Respiratory tract infections, Relief from pain, Treatment for weight loss, Good for cancer patients, Allergy treatment, Disease of the throat, Help for urinary infections, Treat erectile dysfunction
Country mallow also referred to by its scientific name Sida cordifolia Linn is a long-lived herbaceous plant belonging to the Malvaceae family. The plant is native to Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and India and grows in all the places in Rajasthan. You find it in French Polynesia, southern United States, New Guinea, Australia, Africa, and the Hawaiian Islands. In India Sida cordifolia Linn is commonly known as Bala, which is widely used in Ayurveda and other traditional systems of medicine in India and various other countries for immunity. Few of the popular common names of the plant are bala, country mallow, flannel sida, flannel weed, flannelweed, heart leaf sida, heartleaf sida, Indian country mallow, sida, white burr, Ilima and Ailima. 

Ayurveda has mentioned Country mallow as brmhaniya, a bulk promoting herb. Maharishi Charaka mentions Country mallow as a rejuvenative to muscle tissue and muscular system. The  name  ‘bala’  is  said  to  be traditionally  connected  to  Sida  cordifolia (aka North  Indian  bala),  S. alnifolia  (also  known  as South Indian  bala) and  S. rhombifolia,  the name  is  also  shared  by  several  other  species  of Sida  as  well  as  other  unrelated  taxa. The entire plant is covered with soft white felt-like hair that is responsible for one of its common names, “flannel weed”.

Plant Description

Country mallow is an erect, velvety upright and long-lived herbaceous plant or small undershrub that grows about 50 to 200 cm (20 to 79 in) tall but occasionally reaches up to 2 m in height. The plant is found growing along roadsides, sandy sea coasts, wastelands, slopes, sandy localities, waste grounds, fallow fields, forest paths, forest clearings, pastures, grasslands, open woodlands, crops, roadsides, disturbed sites, gardens, footpaths, parks in tropical, sub-tropical and sometimes also semi-arid environments. Normally the plant prefers a lighter and sandy soil. Root is 5-15 cm long with few lateral roots of smaller size. Tap roots are generally branched at the tip, outer surface of the root is off to grayish yellow, odorless with slightly bitter taste.

Stems and Leaves

Stems are commonly slender and quite wiry, but occasionally they can be slightly woody in nature. Stems and leaves are densely covered in soft whitish-colored hairs that give them a felty texture.

Leaves are alternately arranged and are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 1-6 cm long. Leaf blades are 3.5 to 7.5 cm (1.4 to 3.0 in) long by 2.5 to 6 cm (0.98 to 2.36 in) wide and are heart-shaped (i.e. cordate) or occasionally broadly egg-shaped in outline (i.e. broadly-ovate). They usually have rounded tips (i.e. obtuse apices) and toothed (i.e. crenate or serrate) margins. Leaves are velvety on both surfaces, mixed with simple hairs on the nerves beneath.

Flowers and Fruit

Flowers are densely clustered in the upper leaf forks (i.e. axils) or at the tips of the stems. They are borne on short stalks (i.e. peduncles) 2-4 mm long that elongate slightly as the fruit mature. Each flower has five yellow to pale orange petals that are 8-10 mm long, which often have a dark orange spot near their bases. Bases of the five sepals are somewhat fused together into a tube (i.e. calyx tube), with ten lengthwise ribs and five lobes (6-7 mm long). Flowering occurs throughout most of the year, but is most apparent from August to December.

Fertilized flowers are followed by loculicidal capsule that is 3-8 mm across and about 3 mm high. Fruits are initially green and become dark-brown and separate into 8-10 one-seeded segments (i.e. mericarps) when fully mature. 2-2.5 mm long, wedge shaped seeds are dark brown and topped with two long slender awns that is 2.5-3.5 mm long that has tiny backwards-pointing (i.e. retrorse) barbs.

Health benefits of Country Mallow

Listed below are few of the popular health benefits of using Country mallow

1. Respiratory tract infections

Preparations of the Sida cordifolia prove beneficial for treating infections of the upper respiratory tract. You can get relief for cold, flu, bronchial asthma, swine flu, nasal congestion and wheezing. Prepare the tea with the Sida cordifolia and have this twice a day until the symptoms ease.

2. Relief from pain

You can get relief from sciatica pain with the use of Country Mallow. Drink the infusion of the leaves twice a day for best relief. You can use it for all kinds of nerve pain and nerve inflammation.

3. Treatment for weight loss

If you begin to lose weight without reason, you can cure it using the Sida cordifolia. Have the infusion of the leaves and roots early in the morning on an empty stomach, and you will stop losing weight.

4. Good for cancer patients

Plant extract proves beneficial for speeding up the treatment of cancer patients. You can use it both before and after the chemotherapy to help improve the condition of the patient.

5. Allergy treatment

For people suffering from various kinds of allergies, the infusion of the Country Mallow proves useful. It delays the onset of the allergy and helps cure the symptoms through constant application.

6. Disease of the throat

You can cure many throat diseases by gargling in the morning with the infusion of the Country Mallow plant. It fights the pathogens and makes the mouth clean

7. Help for urinary infections

By applying the paste of the leaves of the plant directly to the genitals, you can get relief from infections of the urinary tract. Drink the decoction to speed up the process.

8. Treat erectile dysfunction

People can treat erectile dysfunction by having the infusion of the Sida cordifolia morning and night. This will help improve the health of the patient by acting on the nerves and making it healthy.

Traditional uses and benefits of Country mallow

  • Plant is used in curing asthma by applying paste made with whole plant, pepper and garlic over the body.
  • Country mallow exhibits Anti-inflammatory properties. This property is beneficial in treating Arthritis and Joint Pain.
  • Bala is applied externally to reduce the swelling of wounds.
  • It is effective in curing Inflammation of the Eyes.
  • It calms the nervous system and provides relief from anxiety.
  • It improves the functioning of the nervous system by increasing Blood Circulation.
  • Country mallow oil is used to massage persons suffering from paralysis, cervical spondylosis, and facial paralysis.
  • It is powerful in curing male infertility. It increases sperm motility and sperm count.
  • Expressed juice of the whole plant is useful in premature ejaculation.
  • Sida cordifolia is diuretic in nature and rejuvenates the Urinary system.
  • It is a Blood purifier and Coagulant and alleviates bleeding disorders.
  • It improves the Serum functioning. Serum provides nourishment to the blood cells and boosts healing power of the body.
  • It cures weakness.
  • An Infusion made of Bala leaves is used for curing Fever.
  • Prepare a paste of the leaves and apply it locally to treat elephantiasis.
  • Juice of the whole plant is beneficial for spermatorrhoea, rheumatism, and gonorrhea.
  • Plaster made up of Bala, Jatamansi, Amalaki and Kushtha is applied to hair to promote the growth of hair.
  • It is a plant used in Brazilian folk medicine for the treatment of inflammation of the oral mucosa, blennorrhea, asthmatic bronchitis and nasal congestion, stomatitis, of asthma and nasal congestion.
  • Bark is useful in blood, throat, urinary system related troubles, piles, phthisis, insanity etc.
  • Its extract is consumed to reduce body weight.
  • It tones the blood pressure and improves the cardiac irregularity.
  • Country mallow oils are used topically to the sore muscles and sore joints in rheumatism and arthritis.
  • Decoction of the root of Country mallow and ginger is given in intermittent fever attended with cold shivering fits.
  • Powder of the root and bark together, is given with milk and sugar for frequent micturition.
  • Oil prepared from the decoction of root bark mixed with milk and sesame oil, finds application in diseases of the nervous system, and is very efficacious in curing facial paralysis and sciatica.
  • Juice of the whole plant, pounded with a little water is given in doses of ¼ seers for spermatorrhoea, rheumatism, and gonorrhea.
  • Whole plant is boiled, and the water used as an herbal bath, or for washing the skin to relieve itching and the irritation of chickenpox and measles spots.
  • Juice obtained from the roots is applied to unhealthy sores.
  • Leaf extract is used for curing pneumonia and syphilis in Rwanda.
  • Root extract is drunk to induce abortion in the Central African Republic and in Kenya.
  • Women chew the bark to encourage menstruation.
  • Powdered root bark is given with milk and sugar to persons suffering from leucorrhoea.
  • Decoction of its root is highly beneficial for tuberculosis, especially when taken with ghee and honey.
  • It is good to relive chest congestion and helpful in case of bronchitis and asthma.
  • The use of this medicinal herb is helpful to increase both quality and quantity of sperm, thus beneficial in case of male and female infertility. It also controls pre ejaculation of sperms.
  • Cooked leaves are generally used to treat bleeding piles.
  • Crushed leaves are also used for wound dressing.
  • It is used as milk decoction with sugar to improve the general health and curb the sexual debility.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Country mallow

  • Wounds: Sprinkle the powder of Sida Cordifolia over the affected area.
  • Strangury: Prepare a decoction of the roots of Sida Cordifolia. Have it two times a day.
  • Arthritis: Apply root paste of Sida Cordifolia over painful Joints.
  • Antimicrobial: Take leaves and or roots of Sida Cordifolia. Crush them and extract its juice. Take 1 tsp once a day.
  • Antiinflammatory: Take 1 tsp plant extract of Sida Cordifolia with lukewarm water. Have it once a day.
  • Arrhythmia: Crush Sida Cordifolia plant to extract its juice. Take 1 tsp twice a day.
  • Diabetes: Grind the plant of Sida Cordifolia. Strain. Take half tsp of the extract thrice a day.
  • Antioxidant: The extract of Sida Cordifolia plant is rich in Antioxidant. These Antioxidants helps in fight against various diseases. Consume 5 ml plant extract twice a day. Use it daily.
  • Abscess: Soak the leaves of Sida Cordifolia in warm water for 2-3 minutes. Apply locally to Abscess.
  • Toothache: Gargle with root decoction 3-4 times a day.
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders: Apply root paste of Sida Cordifolia over the affected area.
  • Gentamicin Toxicity: Take 1 teaspoon of Sida Cordifolia powder with warm water. Take it once in a day for 1 week.
  • Throat Disorders: Take each and equal amount of 5 to 6 grams of powdered roots of Asparagus Racemosus, Sweet Flag and Sida Cordifolia. Consume it orally thrice a day.
  • Paraplegia: Infuse Sida Cordifolia and Ashwagandha Oil in equal proportion. Massage with the Oil over the affected area daily.
  • Hoarseness of the throat, improving voice: Paste made of the powder of the roots of Sida cordifolia (Bala) with honey is kept in the mouth and slowly swallowed.
  • Inflammation of the testicles: The milk is boiled with roots of Sida cordifolia till all the water has evaporated. This milk is taken with castor oil.
  • Inflammations: A poultice of yellow-flowered Bariyaara (leaves) is applied to inflammations.
  • Ophthalmia: The leaves of S. cordifolia with other cooling leaves are applied in ophthalmia.
  • Painful urination: The paste of flowers and unripe fruits and take orally with water.
  • Paralysis: 2-5 ml of root juice is taken twice a day.
  • Phthisis, headache, loss of voice, cough, pains in the sides etc. due to phthisis: Ghee boiled with the paste of Sida cordifolia (Bala) is repeatedly taken in large quantities after meals.

Dosage of Country mallow

  • The recommended dosage of dry root powder is 1 to 5 grams.
  • The fresh juice can be taken in dose of 3-6 teaspoon.

Other facts

  • Dried stems are tied into a bundle and used as broom.
  • It is said that since the ancient times, Country mallow has been used to increase the beauty of kings and queen.
  • Good quality fiber is obtained from the plant; it can be used like jute.
  • Bark yields fibers that are used for making cordage.
  • In DR Congo the stems are used in basketry.
  • Pounding the leaves yields glue that is used in Tanzania to seal leaking pots.
  • In Nigeria this glue is used as an ingredient of arrow-poison.

Precautions

  • Pregnant and Nursing mother should avoid the consumption of Country mallow.
  • Avoid it with other products having Caffeine.
  • High doses for long-term may cause strokes, lack of appetite, irregular heartbeat, urinary problems, nausea, vomiting, and tingling.
  • Do not consume it if you are taking Anti-depressant medications.
  • Avoid the use if you are weakened with high blood pressure and prostate or thyroid problems.
  • If you are a heart patient you should avoid Country mallow. It disturbs the regular heart beat and causes palpitations, arrhythmia and tachycardia.
  • People with high blood pressure and diabetes should avoid Country mallow. It may disrupt the sugar and blood circulation in the Body.
  • If you are having kidney stones, avoid the consumption of Sida Cordifolia. It may increase the risk of developing kidney stones. It may also develop adrenal Tumor.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=21728#null\

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/74728/

http://www.hear.org/pier/species/sida_cordifolia.htm

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=SICO

https://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=display&classid=SICO

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-2595669

http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=1715

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/32746

http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Heart-Leaf%20Sida.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sida_cordifolia

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