Mullein makes a very appropriate first herbal ally for beginners in herbcraft.
In the 19th century, people smoked mullein leaves or dried flowers to treat respiratory diseases, coughs, and asthma symptoms – a practice borrowed from the Mohegan and Penobscot Indians.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is an Old World plant, where it was for centuries an esteemed medicinal herb. The colonists planted it in their gardens; it has since escaped and become naturalized in various species throughout the United States.
Gerard, the English herbalist writing in the 16th century, noted that “Figs do not putrefy at all that are wrapped in the leaves of Mullein” so the antibacterial properties of the leaves were noted very early on.
Mullein is high in iron, magnesium, potassium, and sulfur. We consider it the herb of choice for respiratory problems and pulmonary diseases.
It’s safe, including for pregnant/nursing women and children. (source)
Not only does it loosen mucus and expel it out of the body, but it also:
- calms spasms
- is a natural painkiller
- helps to reduce swelling in the glandular system
- very calming for a sick child
- will likely help him or her to sleep
- even with an earache
The video below will address this.
While I am not a doctor (and cannot recommending it to you), this is one herb I like in my medicine chest. We have used it for lung and sinus congestion in capsule form for years.
Below are other ways to use it, but we have:
- steeped dried leaves in a teacup
- inhaled the steam rich in natural bronchodilators (which alone can open the lungs)
- then drunk the tea
Flamboyant herbalist Susan Weed will help you identify it in the wild and also gives a lot of insight on this plant and it’s medicinal uses.
Gathering wild mullein leaves and flowers is a part of simple living, and is a great way to get out together and romp the countryside with a son or daughter discovering the beauty of God’s creation that you wouldn’t normally see.
If you don’t want to forage for Mullein or make it, you can order it online. You can also find it on Amazon or in health food stores in:
- tea bags
- non-organic capsules or organic mullein capsules
- as the dried herb
- or in the already prepared Mullein/Garlic herbal ear drop oil
- Great Mullein Verbascum thapsus – 150 Seeds Heirloom- Non GMO
How To Make Mullein/Garlic Herbal Infusion for Earaches
This is super easy.
Step 1.) Harvest fresh mullein leaves and flowers in dry weather. You can also used dried, crumbled leaf. The flowers do not dry well.
Go for plants that don’t appear blighted or dying or close to heavily traveled roads, but the ones with healthy, soft leaves and a strong stalk. (Other names for it are Adam’s flannel, Velvet dock, and Beggar’s blanket). If you see/touch the soft leaves, you will know why.
2.) Rinse the leaves under running water to eliminate excess dust, etc. As the flowers are rather fragile, use a softer flow of water or put them in a colander to rinse.
3.) You can steep the yellow flowers alone, or add buds and loosely chopped leaves into a small jelly jar with a lid.
4.) You can add 1 quartered clove of fresh garlic if you desire. Garlic is an excellent painkiller in the ear and a wonderful preservative for this remedy.
5.) Heat extra virgin olive oil to hot in a small pan, but do not boil.
6.) Pour the heated olive oil into the jar over the herb and fill it to cover the herbs by about 1″.
7.) Screw the lid on tightly and allow this to sit in a dark spot for two to three weeks to create an infusion. Check at 3 weeks.
Later, you strain off the depleted herb and place in a amber glass bottle to store.
Remember to label your product.
How To Administer a Fresh Mullein/Garlic Infusion
Many mothers know the soothing relief a mullein/garlic infusion can give to a throbbing ear infection.
- Warm the drops by holding the bottle in your hands for a few minutes.
- Gently shake the bottle and warm a few minutes more. Never microwave or place the bottle in boiling water to heat as the properties will be destroyed.
- Do not touch the dropper of the bottle to the ear.
- Have your child lay on her side with the affected ear up or if self-administering, tilt your head to one side.
- Use two or three drops each time as often as 4 times a day
- Gently pull and hold the earlobe up and back several times so the drops flow into the ear canal.
- Have a tissue or cotton ball ready for drips.
Making Dried Herb for Loose Tea
To dry the leaves, hang up with a needle and thread (spread apart for air circulation) till completely dry and crisp (as in the photo above, right). Crumbled into a jar with lid and store out of sunlight in a cool place.
Other common uses: The fresh leaves slightly crushed can be used as a temporary dressing over an abrasion to prevent or stem infection. It is a good herb to know where it grows in your area. Some day we may be glad to be able to have it in an emergency. The world isn’t getting any more stable, you know.
“A weed is a plant that has built in survival skills except they don’t grow in rows. They are God’s gifts to us – if we will use them.“ ~Jacqueline
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We have this growing here…thanks for all the great information and uses 🙂
Faythe @ GrammyMouseTails
I do have some mullien growing in a few spots around the yard, esp near the road. I did not know about all herbal properties! I was under assumption I should leave it for the birds and other wild critters. Thanks for the info! I learn so much here. Thanks again for visiting, too. Hubby has been watching for the turkeys still. He has one opportunity to try pictures. I have not looked at them yet. I think they are finding lots of goodies in the tall grasses and woods, haha. I do not plan on having one on my table this year, but many people do! In WI you need a special turkey stamp to hunt them. And it is mostly a darker meat, nothing like the domesticated ones. I prefer the white, lucky for the wild ones! I made sure to sign up for your email newsletter so I don’t miss a post. I do not like using the ‘readers’ I have poor internet 🙁 .
Looking forward to seeing and hearing from you again.
I love using Mullien. I’ve had great success with it.
PS. I love the farm in the background of the first picture!
Jacqueline, congrats on being featured at Hearts 4 Home Thursdays/Our Simple Country Life! Went then to link up and saw you featured! How exciting!
I have not found any Mullein since I have moved to west Texas. Is there some place to buy seeds? I have found Horse Mint seeds that I plan to plant in the Spring,
Bobbie, I did a quick search and found them here: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/seeds/seeds.php listed under “M”… I think they will be easy to grow, but you might need to wait two years since they are biennial (I’m honestly not sure how fast they germinate), but it may be out there somewhere on the web. Blessings!
I have a lot of mullan. do you think the roots would grow if they were mailed to someone, i can send him some roots.
I can’t say whether the roots would grow or not. My hunch is that the seeds would germinate, though, and you would get Mullein that way…I found this for you: http://www.ehow.com/how_5084553_grow-mullein-seed.html Good luck!
Hi there. Interesting post. I have had mullein in my herb garden for years, but when I started doing some real research on how to use it, etc., I learned that there were several varieties and that the one pictured above is not actually the variety used by the native Americans or shown in the Eurpoean herbals. Have you seen any of this information? I’m quite interested how you’ve used it. Any thoughts?
There is moth mullein which is very similar. I have not seen what you are referring to. The tea we make with the leaves of our native Mullein in the Midwest work very effectively within 30-40 minutes after drinking the tea. This site is one that I think is accurate: http://www.nyctophilia.net/plants/mullein.htm
Thank you for this great info…. would this happen to be the same plant as Lamb’s Ears? The leaf looks the same shape and is fuzzy but Lamb’s Ears has light purple flowers instead of the yellow…but the flowers grow on a similar stalk. ….. Just wondering…I’ve never seen this and wondered if it’s the same or related. Do you know if it would grow under the same weather/soil conditions. Thanks in advance 🙂
Beth, I don’t think so. Lamb’s ears has purple flowers, I believe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachys_byzantina. It is amazing how similar they look, though, isn’t it? Most will be found along roadsides, but try to find them on less traveled country roads to avoid fumes and chemical waste deposits on the leaves…they seem to trap a good amount of dust and debris. Blessings!
Hi–can you please tell me how I can take Mullein for my allergic asthma.
I avoid allergens (and cold induced asthma too)..but when it sets in the fluid in my lungs is lots. It turns to pneumonia and I have to go in and get antibiotics, predinsone.
I get this about 4 times per winter. We are trying to farm too.
I see the bulk store–to buy the mullein, but do I just put some in a gelatin capsule and take in by mouth?
Thank you if you can help. We are messianic believers out in Ohio.
I am so sorry to hear that you are having such a serious trial with these allergies. There are several ways to take it. One is by making a tea. Steep 2 heaping tsp of the crushed mullein leaves (per cup of tea) in boiling water for 15-20 minutes and then strain off the leaves leaving you a warm tea. It will be rather strong, but that’s what you want. Here’s a page on how to make tea different ways: http://www.bulkherbstore.com/how-to/Make_a_Tea#a_aid=deeprootsathome
There are also other herbs that will be more powerful when used together or alternated. Look down the page to the section on allergies: http://www.bulkherbstore.com/research-aid#a_aid=deeprootsathome
Yes, you can also use a capsule making machine (I will be ordering one soon from BHS) and make them, but I think mullein will take some work to get in capsules because it is fluffy stuff and you would need 4-6/day when it it really bad 🙂 Teas are more absorbable.
Geri, I also have issues with allergies and need to use mullein and the other herbs. They do help me. I will be praying and am now.
Mullein grows wild here in our area and this past year I started drying it for tea. I knew that it was good for coughs but I hadn’t realized some of the other benefits that you shared. I am happy to learn it has magnesium in it as I just listened to a podcast that talked of the importance of magnesium and how most people are lacking it.
My friend from Alabama surprised me with Mullein for my yard today. Can’t wait to plant it tomorrow!
I love my mullein, and I know you will, too, Deborah Ann. I have trouble pulling them out when they self-seed…They are just too pretty and soft! Have fun, friend, working with your hands in God’s creation!
Thanks, Jacqueline. I have mullein growing on our property and plan to harvest some for infusing/drying. This helpful post came just in time!
That’s great that you have it growing there! I need to harvest soon, too 🙂
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Mullein is realy a great herb !!!
My friend from Alabama just brought me some Mullein to plant in my yard. What a wonderful surprise!
How do you use the leaves? I have made oil and will not live with out it. I have never used leave do you dry and make a tea? Or how do you use it.
Yes, Diane, I dry them, too…Here is a post that tells you how in short…: https://deeprootsathome.com/odds-and-ends-and-the-kitchen-sink/
I hope that helps 🙂
How do you yiu use it for sinus congestion?
Vicki, I make it as a tea or make capsules and take 2 once or twice a day. Tea is the easiest, though – just crumble (~2) tsp.the dried leaves (or even fresh leaves (but you need to use more if fresh (the dried leaves’ properties are more concentrated) and steep them for 5-10 minutes in boiling water and drink several times a day. Also, deeply breathe in the steam of the tea. You will experience a breaking up of the chest and head congestion between the heat of the tea and the powerful and safe decongestant properties! Do try it, friend!
Hi Jacqueline, thank you so much for this valuable information. I am new to Wildcrafting and the use of Herbs. I wish I would have had an interest in Medicinal Herbs when I was a young mother as my youngest son suffered horribly with seasonal asthma and hated using his Albuterol Enhaler because of the taste. Would you happen to know if Mullein grows in my area? I am in the North-Eastern area of Colorado. I am planning a Wildcrafting garden for my yard next spring and have quite a list started. I feel like a sponge and more than ready to soak up as much authentic information as I can get my hands on. So glad I found you on Pinterest and I can’t wait to see your blog & Facebook page. Blessings to you and yours. ~SuzyJCinColorado~
Thanks, Suzy! Good question. Glad to hear you are enjoying learning about herbs 🙂
I am not sure bout mullein in NE Colorado…
This may be helpful: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/vertha/all.html
For more you might google “mullein in NE Colorado” or ‘Verbascum thapsus in NE CO’
I hope that helps, friend!
Can you drink the tea if you are pregnant ?
Gigi, Here is what I found, but I would always double check and research for your self just to be sure, friend: http://www.mothering.com/forum/19-i-m-pregnant/289269-herbs-use-during-pregnancy.html
*** “safe” means there are no specific warnings against using this herb, in normal amounts, during pregnancy. Anything can be unsafe without moderation. Some herbs that are labeled “avoid” may have benefits that outweigh the risks; always consult a professional. Always research an herb before using; it’s always best to get medical advice before treating yourself.
Just the other day I noticed this plant and was keen to find out more about it. We are very pleased. I’m looking forward to making earache oil in case of ill health. Thanks so much. We live in Britain and my partner if half Native American. This plant is a must. Yarrow is another favourite of hours. Blessed be everything virtuous we hold sacred.
Lowri, I am glad you located a plant! It is a wonderful natural remedy from the hand of Creator God! <3 Blessings! ~J
Can you make the ear oil with dried mullein?
You can use fresh OR dried. I added that note to the recipe in the post under the subtitle: “How To Make Fresh Mullein/Garlic Herbal Infusion for Earaches”.
The amount to use isn’t critical, just be sure to cover the herb with the warmed olive oil by about an inch.
A few drops of the finished, strained oil is an effective earache treatment most of the time unless there is something else going on than a commom earache.
I hope that helps,