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.
Mullein is applied to the skin for wounds, burns, hemorrhoids, bruises, frostbite, and skin infections (cellulitis). The leaves are used topically to soften and protect the skin.
Mullein: The Medicinal Herb that Fights Infections and Inflammation
Mullein has been used medicinally since ancient times, and its use and popularity only seem to be increasing as time goes on. The leaves, flowers and roots of the plant are used for the treatment of various inflammatory diseases, diarrhea, asthma, coughs and other lung-related ailments — making it one of the top herbs for healing.
An oil made from the flowers of the mullein plant is very commonly used to treat the pain and inflammation associated with earaches for children and adults alike. This plant might even be able to fight influenza, herpes viruses and some bacteria that cause respiratory infections.
Traditional use of this therapeutic plant, in its various forms, includes the treatment of bruises, burns, hemorrhoids and gout. The herb can be ingested, applied topically and even smoked. In the Appalachia region of the U.S., the plant has historically been used to treat colds and upper airway infections. Additionally, the leaves have been applied topically to soften and protect the skin.
Let’s talk about why mullein might already be, or soon will be, an impressive favorite in your herbal arsenal of natural remedies.
What Is Mullein?
Mullein is the name for any of the over three hundred species of the genus Verbascum, which are large biennial or perennial herbs native to northern temperate regions, especially eastern Eurasia.
Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) grows up to seven feet tall and has a single stem with large, thick, velvety leaves and pale-yellow, slightly irregular flowers. This is the type that you will most commonly find in stores.
Sometimes the plant is referred to as Aaron’s rod because of it’s tall with yellow flowers.
Mullein leaf can be used to make a nourishing tea that’s been used in folk medicine. You can buy mullein leaf tea at your local grocery or health store, or you can make your own at home.
Drinking tea from this yellow flowered plant helps to relieve issues like sore throat, cough, colds, hoarseness and bronchitis. Some even use it to ease digestive complains like diarrhea and joint pain.
To make the tea, the leaves are simply simmered in boiling water and then strained.
Research on the plant shows that it contains flavonoids, saponins, tannins, terpenoids, glycosides, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils.
It also contains approximately 3 percent mucilage, which is thought to be responsible for the soothing actions that the herb has on the body’s mucous membranes. Mullein’s saponins are believed to be the explanation for the herb’s expectorant actions.
1. Ear Infections
Mullein has well-established emollient and astringent properties, making it an excellent choice for temperamental ear ailments.
A tincture containing the plant alone or a combination of mullein and other herbs is commonly found in health stores (and online) as a tried-and-true natural remedy for ear aches and infections.
A study published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in 2001 concluded that an herbal ear drop with mullein were just as effective as an anesthetic one.
People also use mullein oil to naturally treat their dog’s ear infections and other health problems with success. That’s right — don’t forget that natural remedies can be used on your animal friends, too!
2. Calm Bursitis
Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs (called bursae) that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis occurs when the bursae become inflamed and research indicates that mullein has anti-inflammatory effects.
The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip. To help bursitis naturally, you can simply prepare some mullein tea and soak a clean cloth in the warm tea.
The cloth can then be regularly applied over the affected region, which should help to decrease inflammation and serve as a natural remedy for bone and joint pain. You can also create a healing poultice.
3. Potent Disinfectant
Mullein oil is potent disinfectant that can treat both internal and external infections. Recent research published in Medicinal Chemistry shows that the plant has antimicrobial properties and can be used for the treatment of infectious diseases.
Internally, it has been known to treat infections in the ears, colon, urinary tract (including a vaginal yeast infection) and kidneys. When applied externally, it can help to fight infections on the skin.
4. Ease Respiratory Illness
Mullein tea can help to naturally improve a wide array of upper respiratory problems, including bronchitis, dry coughs, sore throats, general hoarseness and tonsillitis. Mullein for COPD is also used in folk medicine.
The leaves contain an extract with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps to rid the body of mucus and soothes the raw, inflamed tracts of your system, like your throat. Mullein as an asthma remedy may be effective because of its soothing impact on the bronchioles.
Smoking mullein is used by some for respiratory issues. In folk medicine, research suggests that dried herb can be placed in a pipe and smoked to treat congestion in your lungs. However, this is definitely a questionable way of using it and if used, should never be done for a prolonged length of time.
Plus, smoking mullein is one of the least effective means of using it’s beneficial properties. If you’re a smoker and having lung congestion, then smoking mullein rather than tobacco can be helpful.
5. Bacteria Killer
Researchers at Clemson University confirmed the antibacterial properties of mullein. In 2002, these researchers reported that the plant’s 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.