Medicinally Malva verticillata seeds (Dong Kui Zi) could easily be confused with another similar Chinese herb – seeds of Abutitlon theophrastii Medic. (Qing Ma Zi). So to speak, if you are going to buy Dong Kui Zi, most drugstores in China would just prescribe you with the latter instead of the former. As a matter of fact, related modern research has verified that these are two different herbs and they have different major medicinal uses respectively. So, it is better to distinguish them medicinally. Nevertheless, this article is not going to compare them detailedly. Instead it only focuses on the former herb.
What is Malva verticillata?
Also known as Malva verticellata, Chinese mallow, Cluster Malva, mallow, Malva, chingma abutilon, musk mallow, and Mauve Chinoise, TCM wise it means Malva verticillata L.[M.pulchella Bernh.] or Melva crispa L., whose seeds are its main medicinal part.
This mallow plant is an annual herb, 30 to 90cm high. Stems are erect, and sparsely hairy or almost glabrous. Leaf is alternate, round, 5 to 8cm in diameter, and with 5-7 lobes, cordate base, serrulate margin, and many wrinkles. Malva flower is white. Fruit is oblate, meshy, about 8mm in diameter, and with 11 mericarps and pubescence. Seed is about 1mm in diameter and dark black. It usually blooms from June to September. Main habitats include plains, mountains, etc. In China, it is distributed all over the country. As for cultivation, main origins are southwest China, Hebei, Gansu, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and other places.
Main chemical constituents in seeds are neutral polysaccharide (MVS-Ⅰ, MVS-Ⅱ A, and MVS-Ⅱ G), acidic polysaccharides (MVS-Ⅲ A, MVS-Ⅳ A, and MVS-Ⅳ), and peptidoglycan (MVS-V).
Malva verticillata benefits
The health benefits of this amazing herb are so abound that this herb is widely used for a number of ailments, in particular in weight loss. As you know, one of the best examples of malva plant is its malva verticillata tea bags, which is a very popular slim tea for diet purpose. However, in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practice, its seeds instead of leaves are the main medicinal part. So, does malva verticillata work? Facts speak for themselves as follows.
Modern pharmacological actions
Currently there is little experiment was done on this herb. As a result, little information is available accordingly. But conventionally people believe that its seed is good at promoting diuresis, increasing milk production, and stopping bleeding.
Proven malva seed related herbal remedies
TCM herbalist thinks that it is sweet and cold in properties. And it covers meridians of large intestine, small intestine, liver, lung, stomach, and bladder. Its chief functions are promoting diuresis for treating stranguria, lubricating Intestines for relaxing the bowels, and promoting lactation. Main malva verticillata uses and indications include stranguria, edema, constipation, galactostasis, and so on. Recommended dosage is from 6 to 15 grams in decoction, or in the form of powder.
Shi Wei San
Shi Wei San comes from Zheng Zhi Hui Bu (Patterns & Treatments Collected Supplement). This formula is exclusively used designed for heat strangury. Other major herbal ingredients are Shi Wei (Pyrrosia Leaves), Qu Mai (Dianthus), Hua Shi (Talcum Powder), and so on.
Kui Zi Fu Ling San
Kui Zi Fu Ling San is from Jin Gui Yao Lue (Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Coffer). This prescription is mainly formulated for edema during pregnancy, manifested as somatic heaviness, difficult urination, aversion to cold, dizziness once standing up, and more. The other herb, as its name suggested, is Fu Ling (Poria).
Malva verticillata side effects, danger and contraindications
Is malva verticillata safe? Actually there was little relevant clinical poisoning case being reported in the past. The only well documented case is from Dr. Ming-Fu Wang, who ever reported that double vision occurred after a patient was given two doses containing this herb and other symptoms, including surexcitation and delirium, followed after the third doses was taken. Thankfully all the above-mentioned poisoning symptoms disappeared the next day after the medication was stopped and chlorpromazine was prescribed. TCM tends to believe that Dong Kui Zi herb is with no toxicity, which is the main reason why it was listed as one of top grade items. However, caution should be taken during pregnancy and in the case of loose stool due to insufficiency of the spleen.