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Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai)

Close up of Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai)

What is Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai)?

Malva Nut (pang da hai, 胖大海), also known as Boat-fruited Sterculia Seed or Taiwan sweet gum tree seed, refers to the mature seeds of Sterculia lychnophora Hance or Sterculia scaphigera Wall, which come from the Sterculiaceae family. Pang Da Hai is mainly produced in countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. These seeds are usually collected during April to June when the fruits are ripe. After cracking the fruits, the seeds are then dried under the sun for medicinal usage.

Well-loved by singers, Pang Da Hai is renowned for its healing properties for one’s throat. Its Chinese name ‘Pang Da Hai’, which means ‘fat sea’, is derived from how the cracked rind will expand and almost fill the entire cup once it’s placed in boiling water. Plenty of water is required to cook or soak Pang Da Hai.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Malva Nut falls under the category of ‘Cool herbs that transform phlegm and stop cough’. Cold in nature, Malva Nut can help individuals who have too much Heat in their body, such as those experiencing a Yang Excess or a Yin Deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance. Sweet in taste, Pang Da Hai can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body, and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Pang Da Hai targets the large intestines and the Lungs.

Functions and Benefits of Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai) has the following health benefits.

Malva Nut can clear and disseminate Lung qi, which helps to relieve discomfort in the throat. For example, Malva Nut can be used to treat sore throat, hoarseness, loss of voice, cough with profuse yellow, sticky sputum caused by Phlegm-Heat, dry throat, bitter taste in the mouth, acute pharyngitis, tonsillitis and constrained Lung qi. This herb can be used alone to make tea to treat hoarseness, which is also the reason behind its popularity among singers and announcers to help with their vocal cords.

Malva Nut can moisten intestines and unblock bowels too. Thus, it can relieve mild to moderate constipation caused by heat in the intestines, accompanied by concurrent headache, pink eyes and fever.

Also, Malva Nut can promote the expression of rashes. It can be used as an external wash to treat incomplete expression of rashes.

Close up of Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai)
Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai) can help to relieve loss of voice and sore throat.

How to Use Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai)

The recommended daily dosage of Pang Da Hai is 2 – 4 nuts, when soaked in boiling water to make tea. Some may use up to 10 nuts, depending on the healthcare professional’s judgement.

Aside from being used to make tea, Pang Da Hai can also be made into refreshing summer desserts and iced drinks. These treats can be used to relieve sore throat, chronic pharyngitis, phlegm and voice loss. 

Pang Da Hai and its supplements can be found in certain herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai)

Malva Nut should not be used by individuals experiencing diarrhoea and loose stools. Also, as Malva Nut contains some toxicity, it is not wise to use it on a long-term basis. Long-term usage of Malva Nut may cause low blood pressure and other side effects such as itching, lip swelling, dizziness, palpitation, chest tightness and nausea.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Malva Nut to your healthcare routine.


Here is a summary for Malva Nut (Pang Da Hai):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 胖大海
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): pàng dà hǎi
  • Herb name (English): Boat-fruited Sterculia Seed
  • Herb name (Botanical): Semen Sterculiae Lychnophorae
  • Origin of species: Sterculia lychnophora Hance
  • Part(s) of herb used: Seed
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet; Cold; Administrates the Lung and Large Intestine Meridians
  • Actions: Relieves loss of voice due to throat discomforts and coughs; Eases constipation, headaches and sore eyes

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Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.