Note: Use the first year growth for leaf remedies and second years growth for the flower remedies. This is when the potency is the best for this plant.
Great mullein has been used since ancient times as a remedy for skin, throat and breathing ailments. It has long had a medicinal reputation, especially as an astringent and emollient, as it contains mucilage, several saponins, coumarin and glycosides.
Non-medical uses have included dyeing and making torches. The soft leaves were used as toilet paper. Native and pioneer women used the leaves as a sanitary napkin.
Mullein can be found in dried river beds, along roadsides, in disturbed soil areas. Mullein like a lot of sunlight.
Leaf decoctions or herbal teas were used for expectoration, consumption, dry cough, bronchitis, sore throat and hemorrhoids. Leaves were also smoked against pulmonary ailments. The Zuni people, however, use the plant in poultices of powdered root applied to sores, rashes and skin infections. An infusion of the root is also used to treat athlete's foot. The combination of expectorant saponins and emollient mucilage makes the plant particularly effective for cough. All preparations meant to be drunk have to be finely filtered to eliminate the irritating hairs.
Oil from the flowers was used against catarrhs (excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat, associated with inflammation of the mucous membrane), colics and, earaches, frostbite, eczema and other external conditions. Topical application preparations was recommended for the treatment of warts, boils, carbuncles, hemorrhoids, and chilblains, amongst others. Recent studies have found that great mullein contains glycyrrhizin compounds with bactericide and potential anti-tumoral action. These compounds are concentrated in the flowers.
Mullein is used for cough, whooping cough, tuberculosis, bronchitis, hoarseness, pneumonia, earaches, colds, chills, flu, swine flu, fever, allergies, tonsillitis, and sore throat. Other uses include asthma, diarrhea, colic, gastrointestinal bleeding, migraines, joint pain, and gout. It is also used as a sedative and as a diuretic to increase urine output.
The seeds contain several compounds (saponins, glycosides, coumarin, rotenone) that are toxic to fish, and have been widely used as toxins for fishing.
The flowers provide dyes of bright yellow or green, and have been used for hair dye. The dried leaves and hair were made into candle wicks, or put into shoes to help with insulating them. The dried stems were also dipped into suet or wax to make torches.
Mullein tea is a traditional treatment for respiratory problems, such as chest colds, bronchitis and asthma. Mullein leaf tea is slightly bitter; a tea of the flowers is sweeter. Both the leaves and flowers contain mucilage, which is soothing to irritated membranes, and saponins, which make coughs more productive. Research has shown that the herb has strong anti-inflammatory activity, and lab studies suggest that mullein flower infusions have antiviral properties, as well.
The Creek Indians drank a decoction of the roots for coughs; other tribes smoked the roots or dried leaves to treat asthma.
Topical applications were equally varied. The Cherokee rubbed mullein leaves in their armpits to treat “prickly rash.” Leaf poultices were used to treat bruises, tumors, rheumatic pains and hemorrhoids. Mullein flower oil (made by steeping the flowers in warm olive oil) also has been used for treating hemorrhoids, as well as earaches.
Like many other herbs, mullein is not entirely benign. Some people find the plant’s hairs irritating to skin and mucous membranes. It’s a good idea to see how you react to a small amount of mullein before consuming it or smearing it on your body. And always strain the tea through fine-weave cloth or a coffee filter to remove any stray hairs.
The stalk can also be dried as a spindle for making fire either by hand drill or bow drill.
Edible parts: Leaves and flowers. Although the leaves and flowers are edible, enjoying a cup of tea made from these parts is generally preferable. Leaves and flowers can be used in a salad.
1-2 tsps of dried mullein leaves and/or flowers
1 cup boiling water
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dried mullein flowers and leaves. Steep for 10 - 15 minutes. Pour the liquid through a cheesecloth or a coffee filter to strain out the plant's tiny hairs as they may irritate the throat.
Mullein leaf tea has a soothing effect on the urinary tract and facilitates urination. It also eases a nervous, irritable bladder and incontinence. Prepare mullein tea as directed above (minus the mullein flowers) and drink 3 - 4 cups daily. (Be sure to ask your health practitioner first if this is suitable for your condition.)
Mullein flower oil:
Made by steeping the flowers in warm olive oil for 3 weeks (has been used for treating hemorrhoids, as well as earaches)
Mullein Cough Syrup:
Approximately 5 handfuls of mullein flowers (not dried)
Directions: In a jam jar, place one handful of flowers. Pour a layer of sugar on top of the flowers approximately the same volume as the flowers. Place another handful of flowers on top of the sugar. Continue to do this until you reach the top of the jar. Put the lid on the jar and place in direct sunlight for 1 week.
After one week, the level of the layers will have dropped. Place another layer of fresh flowers and sugar until you reach the top again. Put the lid back on and place in direct sunlight for 3 more weeks.
After 3 weeks, use a strainer and strain the liquid (brown syrup) into a dark colored glass medicine bottle and cap it off. Label the bottle with the contents and date. Use one teaspoon as needed for cough and sore throat.
(Warning: check with your doctor before taking this application to make sure it will not react with any medications that you may be taken. Also, make sure you are or anyone taking this recipe are not allergic to mullein. Take at own risk this is for educational purposes only as the author is not a doctor. Do your own research.)
List of Uses:
2. Toilet paper
3. Sanitary napkins
4. Flowers- edible, as well as making medicine for ear aches, wounds, infections, hemorrhoids, chap lips
5. Leaves- edible, as well as making medicine for cold and flus. Dried leaves smoked for lung congestion and throat problems (bronchittus). Inhale the steam from boiling leaves to help relieve cough. Boiled leaves were placed on inflamed area to help with healing and swelling.
6. Leaves were used to make candle wicks.
7. Dried stalk used for hand and bow drills for starting fires. Stalks were also dipped in wax or tallow and used as torches.
8. Seeds- not edible. Used to stun fish by pounding the seeds and placing in a cloth and then placed into a shallow pool of water containing fish.
9. Root- pounded into a powder and made into a poultice to put on sores and infections and helps heal athletes foot.
Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!