Introduction/ Herb’s Description
Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.), is a well known herb commonly known as Marsh Mallow. It is one of the important medicinal plants used in Unani system of medicine. It is a perennial species with light brown coloured, long and thick root, ovate-cordate, slightly toothed leaves and pale pink or pale purple coloured flowers.
It belongs to the family Malvaceae. It is evergreen herb. Roots are long and narrow. Flowers are pale blue to rose pink in colour, single or clustered. They are shaped like those of the common mallow, The flowers are in bloom during August and September, and are followed, as in other species of this order, by the flat, round fruit which are popularly called "cheeses". Leaves are grey green in colour. Texture is velvety. The odour of Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) is faint.
The stems, typically grow 3 to 4 ft but can reach 6.5 feet and put out only a few lateral branches. The leaves are ovate-cordate, shortly petioled, roundish, 2 to 3 inches long and about 11⁄4 inch broad, entire or three to five lobed, at the margin it is irregularly toothed and thick. They are soft and velvety on both sides, due to a dense covering of stellate hairs. but are smaller and of a pale colour, and are either axillary, or in panicles, more often the latter.
Root, leaves, flowers and seeds of Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) are mainly used in Unani medicine. All the parts contain mucilage. Taste of the flower of Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) is bitter while its root is tasteless and mucilagenous.
This palnt is native to Europe and Western Asia. It is found in North America along the eastern seaboard. It is also found in Delhi, Khasmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and also in Pakistan and Iran. In India it is grown not only as ornamenral plant but also for the medicinal prupose. It is native of most countries of Europe and is also distributed in the temperate and subtropical region of Asia and Europe. It occurs in Australia, Azad Kashmir (Pakistan), Belgium, France, Germany, Punjab (Pakistan), United States of America. It occurs usually near salt marshes or the ocean.
In Unani system of medicine, Khatmi has been used for several centuries to treat inflammatory disorders like enteritis, mastitis, metritis, colitis, arthritis, gastritis, bronchitis, etc. It also has been used for other ailments like catarrh, , whooping cough dysuria, renal calculai, pityriasis, dysentery, tremor, haemoptysis and many more.
The Temperament of Althaea officinalis Linn. (Khatmi) is Warm towards Moderate Cold1 and Wet1, Hot1 and Wet1
Root of Althaea officinalis Linn. (Khatmi): Demulcent, Resolvent (Muhallil), Analgesic (Musakkin), Lubricant (Muzliq), Desiccant (Mujaffif), Haemostatic (Habis-ud- Dam) and Astringent (Habis).
Seed of Althaea officinalis Linn. (Khatmi): Expectorant (Munaffis-e- balgham), Anti- Catarrh (Man’-e- Nazla), Laxative (Mulayin), Divergent (Rad’-e- Mawaad), Cleanser (Jali), Demulcent (Mulattif), Concoctive of Phlegm (Munjiz-e- Bulgham), Emollient for stomach and organs (Murrakhi-e- Me’da wa Azalat), Diuretic (Mudir-e- Baul) and Emmenagogue (Mudir-e- Haiz)
Leaves of Althaea officinalis Linn. (Khatmi): Anti-inflammatory (Muhallil-e- Waram) Flowers of Althaea officinalis Linn. (Khatmi): Expectorant (Munaffis-e- Balgham), Exhilarant and Tonic to Heart (Mufarreh Wa Muqawwi- e- Qalb) and Constipative (Qabiz).
Pharmacological Actions of Althaea officinalis Linn. (Khatmi) are Anti-inflammatory, Alterative, Demulcent, Anti-tussive, Expectorant, Emollient, Diuretic, Nutrient, Mucilaginous, Resolvent, Repercussive, Stimulates White Blood Cells,
Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) is indicated in Cough, Respiratory Catarrh, Chronic Cough, Dry Cough, Chest Congestion, Wounds, Boils, Abscesses, Inflammations, Stomach Ulcer, Hernia, Prostate Problems and Urinary Tract Infections.
Seeds of Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) are indicated in Bladder and Kidney Troubles.
Flowers of Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) are indicated in Bronchitis, Bronchial Catarrhal Affections and Burns.
Leave of Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) is indicated in Burns.
Root of Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) is specially indicated in Pleurisy, Sciatica, Indigestion, Bilious Diarrhoea, Bronchitis, Nasal Catarrh, Chest Congestion, Pectoral Catarrh, Pneumonia, Hemorrhoids, Rheumatism and Headache.
Poultice of Leaves of Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) is indicated in Abscesses, Wounds Ulcers and Boils.
Compound Formulations: Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) is used in the preparation of
Average dose of whole herb is 5- 7 gm
Following drugs have been recommended to be used along with Khatmi to prevent side effects. They are Honey (Shahad), Saunf (Foeniculum vulgare), Zarishk (Berries of Berberis vulgaris)
The following drugs are mentioned in the Unani text as substitutes for Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.). They are Behman Surkh (Roots of Centaurea behen Linn.), Khubbazi (Fruits of Malva sylvestris Linn.), Neelofar (Flower of Nymphaea lotus), Samagh-e- Arabi (Gum of Acacia arabica Wild) and Tabasheer (Manna of Bambusa arundinaceae).