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Herbalism For Your Day: Purslane & Mallow

By Cat Gina Cole

I have to admit, I am enjoying the re-discovery of my herbal journal as I write this column each week. Each time, it is like finding something new and getting excited about it all over again. Today, I rediscovered this crumpled and handwritten note. It is crumpled because back when I was doing my studies, I had the habit of throwing away my notes once they were on the computer. My husband, Mike, was very against this and would rescue them from the trash bin. He would give them back to me saying “Here you lost this, it is something you need.”  And I think he was right. Just look at the memories a crumpled bit of paper can have and the joy it evokes.

click to enlarge

On this paper are scribbled notes about a Plantain and Usnea salve, using bees wax almond oil or vitamin E oil, for cuts, wounds, rashes or burns.

Next is “Purslane, dried in food, moderately, kidney issues, tincture or tonic preferred.”

Next is “Mallow, dry cough, bronchitis, bladder complaints, wounds, (add to salve above).”

Then comes, “May cause constipation? Mild laxative? Prevent hair loss in oil, tea for sore throat, hypertension.”

Ok let me sort this out for you. Above, we have notes for a salve using plantain and Usnea. Bees wax is used because it has a faster absorption rate and higher healing contents than soy, paraffin, or coconut. Yes, coconut can also be made into a wax. Almond oil or vitamin E oil?  Well, that depends on desired use. Both are fine for any use however, vitamin E oil has better healing properties, especially for skin.

On to purslane, while it has plenty of omega 3’s and is high on vitamins and minerals, I recommend using only small amounts of this herb as it also is a purgative, a cardiac tonic, and a muscle relaxant, so this one deserves a bit of caution. One cup of purslane tea will not harm someone. It may relax them or even help them sleep and it probably would taste great in a salad but it is not an herb I would use in a concentrated form like a salve or tincture. This is because of its cardiac effect and the effect it can have on the kidneys. You will find plenty of information that says purslane is fine to use. Yes, it is in very small doses.

Mallow, oh how I love this plant! It grows prolifically wild in my yard and puts out the most amazing purple flowers the bees just love. Be warned about it growing in your garden. The roots are travelers like a rhizome and it is the roots that are most widely used for this herb. It has mucilage, a thick gel-like substance, and that is where much of the medicine comes from.

This note “May cause constipation? Mild laxative? Prevent hair loss in oil, tea for sore throat, hypertension” indicate some of the actions of these plants I want to study further before using them.

And there you have it for the week. Who knows what we will discover next week!

Cat Gina Cole is a Hereditary Witch and author of Psychic Skills for Magic and Witchcraft (Llewellyn, 2022). She is the founder of The Coven of the Rising Phoenix and Staff Coordinator for “Green Egg Magazine.” You can reach her at

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