Wednesday, August 11, 2010


These Hollyhocks are still flowering along the path to my studio, although they're almost done. I didn't plant them; they're volunteers who just liked that spot, I guess. I just love volunteers!

I used to love to make 'ballerinas' from the flowers of the Hollyhocks when I was a little girl, but I never knew they could be used for more than that until I read an interesting article about Hollyhocks, or Alcea Rocea, written by Marcia Enos. It seems they have medicinal uses because they contain Glycans. Glycans, very large sugars, make up our cell walls and mucus. The plant mucus found in Hollyhocks is used as an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflamatory. It's a good treatment for cystitis, and it boosts antibody response. Hollyhock is good for lubricating the lungs, throat and digestive tract because it increases mucous secretions.

The leaves, flowers and roots of the plants can be used, but if the plant smells of vinegar or is over three years old, don't use the root. The article stated that, after the plant starts to seed, you can place the flowers, leaves and/or the root in cold water (but, the author didn't say how much of these to use) and, keeping the liquid in the refrigerator, drink several ounces a day for NO LONGER THAN TWO WEEKS. Don't use it any longer because it could deplete Potassium.

And, of course:

Don't try any of this without checking with a doctor or a qualified, certified herbalist first!!


  1. Such beauties! My volunteer hollyhocks didn't return this year -- but I had volunteer nicotiana when I hadn't had any for several years.

  2. I have a couple of cultivated hollyhocks in my garden that I grew from seed. They have 'pom-pom' flowers, and grow to about 8' in a good year. They're shorter this year, and have only just started to flower. The leaves are dying off, too. Something wrong, it seems.

  3. Vicki, I love the scent of nicotiana.

    JJ, I hope your Hollyhocks recover from whatever it is that ails them.


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