Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
You may have noticed mullein growing alongside the roadway; it has a crown of wide leaves with a tall yellow flower spike reaching for the sky. Also known as Aaron's Rod, Shepherd's Club, Hare's Beard and Jupiter's Staff, this is a very useful herb to grow.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Mullein is used for coughs and colds, bronchitis, and for its qualities as an expectorant. It is useful for hemorrhoids and diarrhea. It is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic and is somewhat sedative. It can also be used for migraine headaches.
Externally Mullein oil is used for earache, for healing wounds and as an emollient. It makes a good salve. A poultice made from the leaves can be applied to sunburn, ulcers, piles and tumors.
Other Uses Mullein flowers release a yellow dye when boiled in water. Depending on the mordant used, it will turn green or brown. A herbal flower infusion can be used to turn hair golden. The dried leaves can be rolled and used as candle wicks or can be used to start a fire. It can also be used as insulation or insecticide.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
To make an effective expectorant, mix with coltsfoot or other herb that is supportive of the lungs.
Leaves, roots, flowers The leaves, root and flowers of the plant are all useful in herbal medicine. It can be taken as a tincture, an herbal tea, a gargle, a syrup or an oil.
There are no known contraindications for mullein, even during pregnancy. Some people may experience a slight skin irritation.
Preparation and Dosage
Mullein herbal tea can be easily made by placing 1 tablespoon of dried leaves in 1 cup of boiling water. Let the herb steep for 5 to 10 minutes. For a sweeter flavor, add some of the dried flowers. Children and elderly people may prefer a milk tea; just add the herb to milk instead of water.
Mullein oil is also very easy to make. For ear oil, steep flowers in olive oil for two weeks in a dark warm space and strain. For all purpose oil, add the seed, flowers and root to the oil for steeping.