Learn about Mullein

Botanical name: Verbascum thapsus
Other names: Great mullein

Great mullein is a commonly used domestic herbal remedy, valued for its efficacy in the treatment of pectoral complaints. It acts by reducing the formation of mucus and stimulating the coughing up of phlegm, and is a specific treatment for tracheitis and bronchitis.

The leaves and the flowers are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant and vulnerary. An infusion is taken internally in the treatment of a wide range of chest complaints and also to treat diarrhoea. The Native American Indians smoked Mullein for sore throats and lung congestion.

On top of all this, it has been proven to be beneficial for smokers’ lungs and can assist in weaning one off tobacco addiction. It has a calming effect on all inflamed and irritated nerves and this is why it works so well relieving coughs, cramps, and spasms.

Preparation: An infusion of the flowers in olive oil is used as ear drops, or as a local application in the treatment of piles and other mucous membrane inflammations.

A decoction (a method of extraction by boiling) of the roots is said to alleviate toothache and also relieve cramps and convulsions as well as a poultice made from the seeds and leaves are used to draw out splinters.

A decoction of the seeds is used to soothe chilblains and chapped skin. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh leaves to be used in the treatment of long-standing headaches.

An aromatic, slightly bitter tea can be made by infusing the dried leaves in boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes. A sweeter tea can be made by infusing the fresh or dried flowers.

Any preparation made from the leaves needs to be carefully strained in order to remove the small hairs which can be an irritant.

Reference: Plants for a future, 1996-2010, Verbascum Thapsus, Retrieved September 13 2011, http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Verbascum+thapsus, Ray Thorpe, 2001. Happy High Herbs.

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