Contributed by Dori Cranmore RN
Mullein, or Verbascum thapsus, is native to Europe and Asia, but has been well established throughout the United States. Today it grows frequently in disturbed soil, such as abandoned fields, roadsides and railroads. It is easily found along the Pacific Maritime region of Alaska.
The leaves are mostly used for tea and tinctures, but the flowers and root can also be used. It has been reported since the early 1900’s to help with coughing, lung weakness, respiratory constriction and chest colds. It is quite literally one of the best lung healing herbs out there.
One study of over ninety herbs concluded that mullein is in the top three for nutrition value. Calcium and magnesium in abundance along with flavonoids, saponins, tannins, terpenoids, glycosides, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils. Mullein contains about 3 percent mucilage, a gelatinous substance that soothes irritated membranes in the body. Mullein’s saponins help the body remove excess mucus from the lungs and soothes the mucus membranes with its emollient properties.
Clemson University confirmed the antibacterial properties of mullein. In 2002, these researchers reported that mullein extracts are effective against several species of disease-causing bacteria including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli more commonly known as E. coli.
With the slight anesthetic and very strong sedative actions of mullein, it can be used to relieve various types of pains, including menstrual cramps. Mullein oil is a potent disinfectant and found to be effective in treating both internal and external infections. Internally it has been known to treat inflammations and infections in the ears, colon, urinary tract, vaginal yeast infections and kidneys. Skin infections can respond quickly to a mullein poultice when applied externally. It can help calm bursitis by using a cloth soaked in Mullein tea or a poultice placed over the painful joint. Some have reported mullein tea and poultices can help relieve aching joints by adding lubrication to the surrounding tissues.
Many will recognize Mullein from the soothing natural remedy oil for ear pain. Many times, it is mixed with garlic oil to help kill bacteria. The mullein helps with the pain. People also use mullein oil to naturally treat their dog’s ear infections and other health problems with success.
Upper respiratory problems like sore throats, dry coughs, hoarseness, tonsillitis or bronchitis respond well to capsules or drinking the mullein tea. Mullein even helps asthma sufferers with its soothing effect on the bronchioles. Of course, severe allergic reactions may require a doctor’s intervention.
Mullein leaf has also been reported to be used for hyperthyroidism and to reduce glandular inflammation.
Tribes in Pakistan reportedly use the mullein to rid the body of parasites.
A cup of mullein tea before going to bed could be a perfect natural solution for a good night’s sleep.
Dori Cranmore RN is owner of All About Herbs, Inc. This information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended to treat or cure any disease.