the plant: A silver wooly-leaved biennial with soft leaves that form a basal rosette near the ground during the first year, and extend a tall staff-like flowering stalk in the second year. Leaves are broad alternating & lance-shaped with bases fused against the stem. Leaves are very large at the bottom of the plant, growing smaller as they approach the flowers. The yellow flowers have five petals and are tucked into a dense, tall, rounded spike emerging from the center of the rosette of leaves.
Mullein originates in the Old World, and is now naturalized all over the world, showing up on hillsides and disturbed often rocky ground.
parts used: flowers, leaves, root
preparation: tea or tincture of dried leaves or root, poultice or salve of dried or fresh leaves, flower oil
medicinal actions: demulcent, expectorant, antispasmodic, vulnerary, astringent, anodyne, anti-inflammatory
indications: Mullein is primarily known as a remedy for respiratoryimbalances. It tones and soothes mucous membranes while encouraging expectoration. It has a paradoxical drying, clearing and soothing, moistening action, combined with a slightly aromatic pungency. As a dry, cooling & pungent herb, it can disperse edema, sluggish congestion & heat, and its mucilaginous quality that can soothe dry harsh inflamed conditions.
Mullein is especially useful in cases of long-term, wracking chronic cough like bronchitis or whooping cough and is also a remedy for sinusitis, asthma, congestion and seasonal allergies. Anything 'lung', mullein is a safe and often effective approach - but it is not limited to respiratory issues.
The flowers have nervine and analgesic qualities in addition to being anti-inflammatory. Mullein flower oil is best-known as an earache remedy that is gentle and effective for children & adults, and this oil can also be used topically on any inflammation or nerve pain. Mulluein flower oil or mullein leaf salve can be a useful remedy for hemorrhoids.
The leaf as a poultice can be helpful in cases of bruising, swelling, muscle aches, swollen glands, burns, and nerve trauma. It may help broken bones to set and heal in a good way. Mullein can be soothing for inflammation of the eyes. The root, though less commonly used, is a good wound-healing herb that is useful for acute pain.
contraindications: none known.
note: This information is not a replacement for a trained herbalist. Please consult your medical professional before treating yourself or others with this or any other herbal remedy.