HERBS TO LIVE BY… Mullein
COMMON NAME: Mullein, Great Mullein, Common Mullein, Aaron’s Rod
LATIN NAME: Verbascum thapsus
PLANT PARTS USED: Flower, Leaf & Root
Leaf – Slightly moistening, cooling
Flower – Moistening, cooling
Root – Warming, drying
TASTE: Leaf – Sweet & Bitter
Leaf – Anticatarrhal, Expectorant, lymphagogue, mild spasmolytic, mucilage, vulnerary
Flowers – Demulcent, sedative (mild), anodyne
Root – Urinary tract/bladder tonic, Musculoskeletal support; Analgesic
Stalk, Root & Flowers – Mild sedative
SECONDARY ACTIONS: Astringent
Flowers – For ear infections combine with anti-microbials (e.g. garlic oil), works best when heated gently. For respiratory ailments use the oil as chest rub. It can also be applied to ulcers that are especially painful.
Leaves – The most well-known and commonly used part of the Mullein plant are the leaves. Folk use considers mullein a primary remedy for afflictions of the lung such as congestion, and breaking up mucous in dry coughs, dry coughs with hollow wheezing, tuberculosis and “old coughs”. It can also be used blended with plantain when lung irritants (such as dry particles of hay, smoke, pollen, dust, etc.)
Freshly chopped leaves are used as a compress for glandular swellings. Pour a hot decoction over freshly chopped leaves and place over swellings.
Leaves, Smoking Herb – Mullein is a favorite herb used in smoking blends as it soothes tissues. However, it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, ALL smoked herbs are drying and although Mullein has soothing properties, its overall effect is to dry the tissues. Mullein can be helpful where there is lung congestion, especially when smoked in a blend with other respiratory herbs. Smoked Mullein interferes with mucous production; therefore, it is not recommended for dry coughs as it interferes with the necessary mucous secretions of those dry tissues and can make a dry cough worse. Lastly, other than its ability to soothe, when smoked most of Mullein’s other properties are lost.
Root – Mullein root is helpful for reducing inflammation due to its mild astringent properties. It can be used with recurring bladder infections, urinary incontinence, benign prostatic hyperplasia, chronic cystitis and interstitial cystitis. It helps to soothe the mucosa lining of the urinary tract, having a tonic effect when used long-term.
Flower, Salk & Leaves – Herbalist Susan Weed shares that she harvests the shole stalk of the young plants from the ground up, for use in tinctures as she finds the mild sedative qualities found in the stalk (and to a lesser extent in the flowers) beneficial in cases of breathing difficulties.
INDICATIONS / SYMPTOMS: Cough (wet); Cough (dry); Inflammation; Asthma; Earache; Otitis media; Upper respiratory infection; Bronchitis; Pneumonia; Pain (acute injury); Discopathy; Back strain; Back sprain; Back injury; Pain (chronic related to old musculoskeletal injuries); Pain (joint); Arthritis (w/ aching pain); Benign prostatic hyperplasia; Cystitis (chronic); Interstitial cystitis; Pain (facial); Pain
CONTRAINDICATIONS: Do not put oil in ear if the tympanic membrane is perforated. Possible skin irritation may occur due to leaf hairs (be sure to strain well). Mullein’s colloquial use as “cowboy toilet paper” might not be for everyone. While the hairs, appear smooth, they have been found to be irritating to the skin.
PREPARATION / DOSAGE:
Cold infusion/Infusion: 2-3 tsp/c 3 times per day. A cold infusion best extracts mucilage.
Tincture (1:2-1:3): 40-100 drops 3 times per day
Flower Infused in oil: 2-4 drops in ear 2-4 times per day
Topical: Use freshly chopped leaves as a compress
FOOD: Other than a medicinal tea made of the leaves, Mullein is not used as food.