Did you know that hollyhocks are edible? Yep, the flowers, leaves, seeds and roots are completely safe to eat!
Hollyhocks are a genus of about 60 species of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae. They have many of the same medicinal qualities as wild marsh mallow and can be substituted as such.
Make a cold infusion by soaking the root, flowers and/or young leaves in cold water for about 8 hours to treat a sore throat, mouth problems, coughing and even for soothing the stomach and digestive tract. Heat can destroy many medicinal properties of edible flowers so if your using edible flower petals for a tea it's best not to use hot water.
Or simply eat the young leaves and flowers raw or added to a salad.
The leaves can be used as a poultice to soothe inflamation. Be sure to crush them or steam them slightly first so they can release their juices.
The roots can also be eaten or used as medicine though hollyhock roots are more woody than marsh mallow. Use heat to draw out the properties in most roots!
As with marsh mallow, hollyhocks have an emollient effect so you can use an infusion in your bath water for soft skin or as a rinse in your hair to moisturize and condition.
It's wonderful to know such a common and beautiful garden flower has so many uses!