Medicinal Uses for Mullein

The are multiple medicinal uses for mullein. The leaves, root, and flowers can all be used medicinally for various purposes.

Second year mullein plant with flowers

Mullein, known as Verbascum thapsus, is a plant species that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Today, it’s found all over the world. This is a biennial plant which means it takes 2 years to complete its life cycle. In the first year, plant growth stays close to the ground and produces only the leaves. In the second year, it produces a six foot tall stalk from the center of the plant. On the top of the stalk there are bright yellow flowers, and large fuzzy leaves grow at the base and up the stem.

Mullein has been used to treat a variety of ailments for centuries. Its leaves, flowers, and roots are all used for various reasons. In its entirety, mullein has the following medicinal uses:

  • antiviral
  • antibacterical
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antispasmodic
  • expectorant (helps rid the lungs of mucus and phlegm)
  • demulcent (relieves inflammation and irritation)
  • vulnerary (helps heal wounds and inflammation)
  • astringent

The leaves, flowers, and roots all share these properties, but each part has specific indication for its use.

mullein leaves

mullein plant growing

Mullein leaves are used for conditions that impact the lungs. Its ability to balance the mucus production and soothe inflamed tissues, aids in strengthening the lungs when mullein is consumed daily as a tonic.

Its demulcent property also allows it to be used for inflammatory conditions in the gastrointestinal tract. So conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and acute conditions resulting in vomiting and diarrhea can benefit from mullein use. However, if you are undergoing treatment for a medical condition, also consult your doctor before starting an herbal protocol.

Mullein flowers

mullein flowers

Mullein flowers are produced in the second year of growth. During the second year, a stalk shoots six feet straight up in the air, and grows several buds that blossom into vibrant yellow medicinal flowers.

mullein root

Mullein root cut up on a white surface

Harvest mullein root in the fall of the first year, or the summer of the second year. To harvest mullein root, we use a shovel or garden fork and dig down next to the root system. Then you want to pull back, just as you would do when harvesting potatoes. Be sure to clean it thoroughly and slice thick roots longways before drying to encourage complete and even drying.

Mullein root is a very effective anti-inflammatory and pain reliever particularly for lower back and rib cage pain, and for reducing inflammation in the mucous membrane of the bladder. Its used as a tincture (my favorite), infusion, decoction, or infused oil for topical use.

The best way to get familiar with any herb is to work with it. To learn more about mullein, how to grow it, harvest it, and store it, you can watch the video HERE.

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