Medicinal Herb Post #8 written June 6, 2018
Mullein – Verbascum thapsus
You’ve probably noticed this “weed” along road sides as you’ve driven throughout our Utah canyons or along canal banks. This biennial has a long history of medicinal use for hundreds of years. The first year it produces a rosette of leaves, the second, it sends up a flower stalk of pretty yellow blossoms. Each are different and have a purpose. You may change your mind about it being a weed after today… 😉 It likes full sun and well draining soil. Once established in the garden it will happily reseed itself. The stalks can get tall so plant them in the back or center of the garden.
Mullein leaf is part of the antiicatarrhal herb group. Catarrh is an old name referring to mucus. So mullein is really great at removing mucus from the upper respiratory tract. However, it is also apart of the expectorant group that are a deeper version of the anticatarrhals that effect the lungs down in the bronchials. It’s also a known demulcent, containing high levels of mucilage, a slimy, soothing substance calming irritated tissues. So you can gather from its descriptions that mullein leaf is a wonderful herb to help rid deep seeded coughs, upper respiratory congestion and other issues having to do with the lungs.
The flowers are a known anodyne or pain reliever. They are also antiseptic and can help fight infections. I make a garlic mullein ear oil for ear aches that works really well. Pour olive oil in a pint jar filling in half way. Put in fresh mullein flowers, fresh chopped garlic, fresh St. John’s Wort flowers and fresh Calendula flowers. Put a lid on the jar and let the sun solar infuse the herbs into the oil by placing it on a south facing back porch or table outside. Strain after a few weeks and keep in an amber bottle with a dropper lid. Keep in fridge. Warm bottle gently in hot water and place a few drops in each ear 3x a day. I also like alternating this with fresh squeezed onion juice. Works like a charm!
I like adding mullein leaves to my skin salve as it is soothing to insect bites, sores and bruises. Search for the Calendula post to find that recipe.
Try making a cough tincture with equal parts mullein leaf, marshmallow root, lobelia and gumweed. Place dry herbs in a quart jar and pour 100 proof vodka to cover herbs by an inch or two. Put a lid on and shake daily for 4 weeks. Keep out of direct sunlight. Strain and place in an amber bottle. Take 1 tsp every few hours. Side note: 1 tsp of alcohol based tincture has as much alcohol in it as a ripe banana and the same amount as a dose of conventional cough syrup. You can also make a glycerite too if you prefer not to use alcohol at all. It just won’t be as strong.