Globemallow (Sphaeralcea spp.)

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Arabinogalactans, azeentliini, caliche globemallow, Carrizo Creek globemallow, copper globemallow, Coulter’s globemallow, currantleaf globemallow, cutleaf globemallow, desert globemallow, Emory’s globemallow, Fendler’s globemallow, forb, Gierisch mallow, globe mallow, gooseberryleaf globemallow, grey globemallow, hot springs globemallow, Jane’s globemallow, juniper globemallow, Latin globemallow, littleleaf globemallow, Luna County globemallow, Malvaceae (family), mucilage, Munro’s globemallow, narrowleaf desertmallow, pale globemallow, palmleaf globemallow, pectin, polysaccharides, psoralea globemallow, red falsemallow, red globemallow, Rusby’s globemallow, scaly globemallow, scarlet globemallow, scarlett globemallow, slippery globemallow, smallflower globemallow, soft globemallow, sore-eye poppy, spearleaf globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua, Sphaeralcea angustifolia, Sphaeralcea bonariensis, Sphaeralcea caespitosa, Sphaeralcea coccinea, Sphaeralcea coulteri, Sphaeralcea digitata, Sphaeralcea emoryi, Sphaeralcea gierischii, Sphaeralcea grossulariifolia, Sphaeralcea hastulata, Sphaeralcea incana, Sphaeralcea janeae, Sphaeralcea leptophylla, Sphaeralcea lindheimeri, Sphaeralcea munroana, Sphaeralcea nutans, Sphaeralcea obtusiloba, Sphaeralcea orcuttii, Sphaeralcea palmeri, Sphaeralcea paryifolia, Sphaeralcea pedatifida, Sphaeralcea philippiana, Sphaeralcea polychroma, Sphaeralcea procera, Sphaeralcea psoraloides, Sphaeralcea rusbyi, Sphaeralcea subhastata, Sphaeralcea sulphurea, Sphaeralcea wrightii, spreading globemallow, starch, tannins, thicket globemallow, tufted globemallow, whitestern globemallow, woolly globemallow, Wright’s globemallow, yerba de la negrita.

Background

  • The globemallow flower is a member of the Sphaeralcea species and is bright orange or red. The plant grows from three inches to five feet tall and is found in the deserts and forests of Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California.

  • The globemallow root has been used to pull venom from snakebites and heal snakebites, and made into a poultice (a soft, wet mass of herbs) to be used as a cast for broken bones. The leaves may be made into a tea and used to treat sore throats, diarrhea, cracked hands, and boils. Globemallow has also been used for hair growth and to treat bronchitis, irritative cough, urinary and bladder irritation, and abscesses (collections of pus).

Scientific Evidence

Uses

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.

  • Abscesses (collections of pus), appetite stimulant (increase in appetite), bladder irritation, bleeding, blisters, boils, broken bones, bronchitis, cough, demulcent (soothes inflamed tissue), diarrhea, eye disorders, hair growth, immunomodulation (affects the immune system), inflammation (swelling or redness), respiratory ailments (lung conditions), skin diseases, skin moisturizer, skin sores, snakebites, sore throat, tonic, urinary disorders, urinary tract infections, wound healing.

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for globemallow in adults. However, 4-8 ounces of globemallow tea has been sipped three times daily as an herbal tea. Also, globemallow has been made into a soft, wet mass and applied to an affected area as needed for inflammation.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for globemallow in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to globemallow (Sphaeralcea spp.), its parts, or other members of the Malvaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Globemallow is possibly safe when taken in otherwise healthy individuals. There is a lack of human studies examining the safety of globemallow.

  • Use cautiously in children, due to a lack of sufficient knowledge of safety or effectiveness.

  • Handle cautiously, as globemallow may be irritating to the eyes, and contact with eyes may cause redness.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of globemallow during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Globemallow may interact with anti-inflammatory and lung agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Globemallow may interact with anti-inflammatory and lung herbs and supplements.

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Abascal K and Yarnell E. Botanical medicine for cystitis. Alternative & Complementary Therapies (ALTERN COMPLEMENT THER) 2008;14(2):69-77 (85 ref).
  2. Danielson TL, Obeidat S, Rayson GD, et al. Photoluminescent distinction among plant life forms using phosphate buffered saline extract solutions. Appl Spectrosc. 2006 Jul;60(7):800-7. View Abstract
  3. Ginocchio R, Carvallo G, Toro I, et al. Micro-spatial variation of soil metal pollution and plant recruitment near a copper smelter in Central Chile. Environ.Pollut. 2004;127(3):343-352. View Abstract
  4. Meckes M, David-Rivera AD, Nava-Aguilar V, et al. Activity of some Mexican medicinal plant extracts on carrageenan-induced rat paw edema. Phytomedicine. 2004;11(5):446-451. View Abstract

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.