Mullein has been utilized medicinally since ancient times. Today, it’s use and popularity seem to be expanding for its many health benefits. The leaves, roots and flowers of this particular plant are currently used for treating a variety of inflammatory diseases, asthma, diarrhea, coughs and other lung-related conditions.
Traditional use of mullein includes the treatment of bruises, burns, hemorrhoids and gout. In the Appalachia region of the U.S., this plant has been historically used to treat colds and used topically to soften and protect the skin.
Considering all that mullein is capable of, why wouldn’t you want to add this impressive plant to your herbal medicine cabinet?
Botanical Name and Family of Mullein
Mullein is known botanically as Verbascum thapsus. It belongs to the Scrophulariaceae or Figwort family and has been referred to as Velvet plant, Verbascum and Adam’s Flannel.
What Is Mullein?
Mullein refers to plants of over 300 species of the genus figwort family, which are big biennial or perennial herbs that are native to Asia and Europe, especially in eastern Eurasia.
The most common form of this herb is appropriately named Common Mullein and can grow up to 7 feet tall as one stem with large, thick velvet leaves and unique flowers ranging from white to yellow. Usually, common mullein is the type you will see most in mullein products.
This herb is widely used in landscape gardening, and Native Americans use it as a fish poison. Besides its use in traditional medicine, Mullein is also used as a flavoring agent in the preparation of alcoholic beverages.
Active Ingredients Found in Mullein
Mullein contains flavonoids, iroid glycosides, saponins, polysaccharides, phenylentanoids and volatile oils. This plant also contains approximately 3 percent mucilage, which is responsible for the soothing action that mullein has on the body’s mucous membranes.
Mullein is also believed to have expectorant properties due to its saponins content.
Health Benefits of Mullein
Mullein is traditionally used for the following respiratory tract problems:
- Whooping cough
Mullein is also used as anti-diarrheal, diuretic and sedative, and externally to heal bruises, burns, frostbite, cellulitis and wounds. Research shows this herb possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
Along with the mentioned treatments, mullein is also used for:
- Treating ear infections
- Alleviating bursitis
- Kills bacteria
- Treating yeast infections
- Treating Gout
- Healing hemorrhoids
Different Ways to Consume Mullein
One good way of taking advantage of mullein’s benefits is by using it to make your own tea. As a matter of fact, this is one of the best ways of consuming mullein and it’s the easiest to prepare.
Mullein flowers can also create an infused oil that can be used for medicinal purposes. It can be easily prepared in your home by using a couple of ingredients, making it a common go-to in your medicine cabinet.
The flowers, leaves and roots can be used to make tinctures, powders and other decoctions.
Side Effects of Mullein
There are plenty of uses of this medicinal plant that can help improve your overall way of living. What’s even better is no specific side effects have been reported for Mullein. Nevertheless, it’s never a bad idea to discuss using mullein with your doctor before you decide to add this plant into your daily lifestyle.
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Speranza L, Franceschelli S, Pesce M, Reale M, Menghini L, Vinciguerra I, De Lutiis MA, Felaco M, Grilli A. Antiinflammatory effects in THP-1 cells treated with verbascoside. Phytother Res. 2010 Sep; 24(9):1398-404. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3173. PubMed PMID: 20812283.