Mullein

Verbascum thapsus, Scrophulariaceae. Fresh and dried leaves and flowers are the parts of the plant used.

The leaves should be collected in mid summer before they turn brown. Dry them in the shade. The flowers are gathered in summer during dry weather. They should be dried in the shade or with artificial heat at temperature no higher than 40 degrees C.

Functions of mullein

Mullein is a very useful respiratory system remedy and can be used in most conditions that affect respiration. Mullein:

  • is ideal for toning the mucous membranes of the respiratory system, reducing inflammation and thus facilitating expectoration. This is particularly useful in bronchitis where there is a cough associated with soreness. Mullein can be combined with horehound or thyme or both for greater effectiveness. An infusion of oils of mullein can be used as a chest rub for bronchitis. A gargle made from the flowers can be used to ease sore throats.
  • as an infused oil can be rubbed into chilblain. This will reduce the itching and pain. It also makes a useful rub for sore joints in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. The infused oil is helpful with eczema to reduce inflammation and itching.
  • as an infusion made from the leaves is weakly sedative and relaxing so is useful as an aid to inducing sleep.

Notes on mullein

  • For the treatment of bronchitis mullein combines well with white horehound, coltsfoot and lobelia.

Dosages

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonsful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day.

Tincture: take 1-4 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

Mullein is a declared noxious weed in some places.

It prefers dry stony soils high in nitrogen and with good drainage, but it will grow almost anywhere.

It is grown from seed in spring and summer and the plants readily self seed.

References

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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