Hollyhock is completely edible - leaves, roots, flowers, seeds - not just an amazing looking flower, common in many cottage gardens. It's a valuable medicinal plant too and can be use in natural homemade skin care.
Who would have thought? Hollyhock is a really useful and hardy self-seeding plant in a diverse polycultural garden that adds so much beauty too.
Did you also know that many other common flowers are edible - Gardenia, Gladiolus, Pansy, Hibiscus, Fuchsia, Impatiens and Jasmine flowers are also edible.
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) is a direct relation of Marshmallow and can be used interchangeably for that herb. The difference is that Hollyhocks have woodier and tougher roots making them less palatable than Marshmallow's softer roots.
So, how do you use Hollyhock?
1. Eat Hollyhock leaves
The leaves of Hollyhock can be used as a spinach. Choose the younger softer ones.
2. Eat Hollyhock flowers
The flowers of Hollyhock are edible and can be added to salads.
3. Hollyhock to sooth dry skin - face and body
Put flowers in warm water, crush a little and apply to dry or flaky skin on your face. You can add them to your bath too to soothe dry skin.
4. Make a Cold Infused Hollyhock Tea
Mashmallow and Hollyhock flowers, leaves and roots reduce pain and inflammation. They are good as a healing tea. Cold infused medicinal tea to soothe the respiratory tract, sore throat, dry cough, stomach issues and urinary tract inflammation. Note: do not boil this tea as it will loose lots of the healing properties. To make a cold infused tea, gather a handful of fresh flowers or leaves (dried is OK too) and place in a plunger, or wrap in a cheesecloth and tie with string as a homemade teabag. Leave overnight. Refrigerate and use within a day or two.
5. Make a Hollyhock Poultice
Hollyhock leaves can also be made into a poultice for chapped skin, splinters, and painful swellings. The leaves are quite thick so sometimes you might need to lightly steam them first to make them more flexible. Put the leaves on the affected area while the are still warm and strap it on for an hour or so.
Hollyhocks readily self-seed in the garden. They’re very drought resistant and do well in poor and hard soils. If you want to manage their self-seeding capabilities, remove the flowers before they drop the seeds.
My daughter introduced me to Hollyhock initially. I'd thought they were just flowers, not multi-functional. I'm so glad she asked to plant them.
Another bonus is that Hollyhock flowers are a loved by bees and are a host plant for Painted Lady Butterflies. Hummingbirds like them too!
Happy gardening. Feel free to share this post.
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