Upright, woody shrub growing to 5 ft (1.5 m). Has a downy, slightly oily surface, single yellow flowers, and kidney-shaped seeds.
Habitat & Cultivation
Kanghi grows throughout much of India in addition to Southeast Asia.
Root, bark, leaves, seeds.
Kanghi contains mucilage, tannins, and asparagine. Asparagine is diuretic.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Also known as Indian mallow, kanghi is used in much the same way as marshmallow (Althaea officinalis), one of the main European demulcent herbs. The root, leaves, and bark of kanghi are mucilaginous and are used to soothe and protect the mucous membranes of the respiratory and urinary systems.
A decoction of the root is given for chest conditions such as bronchitis. The mucilaginous effect benefits the skin; an infusion, poultice, or paste made from the powdered root or bark is applied to wounds and used for conditions such as boils and ulcers.
A decoction of the root can also be used to good effect as a mouthwash for toothache and sore and infected gums. The seeds are laxative and “useful in killing threadworms, if the rectum of the affected child be exposed to the smoke of the powdered seeds” (Herbs that Heal, H. K. Bakhru, 1992). The plant has an antiseptic effect within the urinary tract.
A. trisulcatum, native to Central America, is used to treat asthma in children, and is applied as a poultice for treating cancerous sores and ulcers, especially of the mouth and cervix.