Botanical: Verbascum thapsus
Family: Scrophulariaceae (figwort/snapdragon)
Other common names: Aaron's Rod, Velvet Dock, Torches, Jacob's Staff, Bunny's Ears, Lungwort,
Large-flowered Mullein, Witches' Candle, Beggar's Blanket, Velvet Plant, Pig Taper,Verbascum Flowers, Bullock's Lungwort, Woolen Blanket Herb, Flannel Flower, Shepherd's Club, Cow's Lungwort, Hag's Taper, Jupiter's Staff, Our Lady's Flannel, Candlewick, Grandmother's Flannel
Mullein is an old and respected treatment for respiratory problems, including dry, hacking and unproductive coughs. It's a good herb to have handy for flu and chest colds.
Mullein is also a mild sedative, herbal pain reliever and demulcent that is soothing to inflamed tissues.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Mullein is a biennial plant that is native to regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It became naturalized in Europe and later escaped to North America, where it is often found growing wild in waste places and along roads as a weed, resembling a stately sentinel. Mullein is a strikingly beautiful plant that when cultivated is a stately addition to any garden. Like spinach, Mullein has oval leaves that grow close to the ground, but its flower spike may extend to a height of eight feet in springtime.
Because of its thick, soft leaves, it is commonly called Grandmother's Flannel and Our Lady's Flannel. As a biennial, there is only foliage for the first year, which is then joined the next year by the flower. If it sheds its seeds, it will propagate itself; otherwise, it will have exhausted itself and will not return the third year. When in the wild, the seeds scatter and continue to propagate, but in cultivation, reproduction must be tended. Since antiquity mankind has used the velvety Mullein plant, which was prescribed by the Greek physician, Dioscorides, for respiratory ailments, a therapeutic use that continues to this day. Mullein is the plant that Ulysses took with him on his legendary voyage to protect himself against the wiles of the enchantress, Circe; and in Rome, General Agrippa said the fragrance would overpower demons. The Romans also used it as a hair rinse and carried the stem as a torch in religious processions, and later use also included dipping the tall stalks of this plant in tallow and lit as torches. In Europe and Asia, Mullein is said to have the power of driving away evil spirits and magic. In folklore, Mullein torches were said to repel witches, but paradoxically, witches also used the herb in their brews and potions. Another of its many and varied uses was to keep thinly shod feet warm in winter. Native Americans used Mullein to cure dysentery and, oddly, used the seeds to paralyze fish, making them easier to catch (the seeds are highly poisonous and must be avoided altogether). Some of Mullein's constituents include mucilage, saponins, glycosides (aucubin), resin, flavonoids (hesperidin), tannins, essential oil, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, coumarin, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and vitamins B1-, B-2, B-3 and C. Long used in herbal medicine, Mullein Leaves were included in the National Formulary from 1916 through 1936.
One of the primary uses of Mullein has been to remedy respiratory problems, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, croup and other breathing difficulties. It is a fine expectorant that stimulates the cough reflex, clearing out congestion and expelling excess respiratory phlegm and mucus. Its high mucilage content also soothes and tones the mucous membranes of the respiratory system and reduces inflammation. The mucilage in Mullein lubricates the throat and lungs, even as it promotes expectoration, easing the bronchial passages, throat irritation and laryngitis.
Mullein Leaf is considered an anodyne that is said to relieve pain, including headaches and migraines. It is slightly sedative and is said to promote a sound sleep and ease nervous tension.
As a demulcent, Mullein soothes mucous membranes, lubricates tissues and promotes healing. This mucilaginous effect also helps to ease gastronomic distress.
Mullein is considered an antispasmodic and helps to relieve stomach cramps.
The presence of tannins in Mullein helps to treat diarrhea by reducing inflammation in the intestine and is an old-time remedy for dysentery. (However, in large doses, Mullein acts as a laxative.)
Mullein is said to show strong overall anti-inflammatory activity and has been said to be effective in treating swellings, especially when lymph nodes in the throat, neck, arms and groin swell or are congested. It has a reputation for cleansing the lymphatic system generally, and it is also frequently used to relieve swollen joints.
Mullein is an astringent, antibacterial and antiseptic, making it effective for urinary tract infection, as well as a fine mouthwash for sore throats.
Externally, Mullein Leaf is used to treat wounds. As a highly mucilaginous herb, it has been used as a topical anti-inflammatory by herbalists as a soothing emollient for inflammatory skin conditions and burns. In oils or salves, it can calm and soothe the pain and inflammation of hemorrhoids, soften the skin and reduce the inflammation and pain of insect bites, earaches and bruises. The leaves make a fine drawing salve (boiled in hot wine) for thorns and splinters.
Pregnant or nursing women should not use Mullein Herbal Supplement, and people with a history of cancer should consult their physicians before taking this product.