Magic Mullein!   4 comments

Magic Mullein was used medicinally in “The Old World”; long before it came here and became a sacred plant, to several Native American tribes. No wonder; with anti-bacterial, anti-catarral, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, sedative, and vulnerary actions, this one-stop-pharmacy becomes useful in numerous ways.

Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, belongs to the figwort family, and is a biennial, that grows a rosette of grayish-green, soft, woolly leaves close to the ground in the first year;

and sends up a spike, or several spikes, covered with flower buds at the top; up to 6 feet high, in the second year.

Mullein’s five-petal, yellow flowers bloom a few at a time, sending out seeds as they go by. 

The leaves are covered with fine hairs and spirally arranged; growing directly out from the fuzzy, grooved main stalk, with no stem between.

In days gone by, Mullein, was revered for driving away evil spirits. To protect oneself against hexes and curses just dip the stalks in wax and burn them; hence the moniker, “Candelwick”.  I like this idea, a lot, and intend to try it, using bayberry or bee’s wax, if I am able to find and gather enough bayberries or come upon a bee-hive!

Tea, made of mullein leaves, is good for coughs and other respiratory conditions.  It is wise for anyone who has never used Mullein (or anything else, new, for that matter!) to test for reactions, and always be certain your tea is well-strained, (through several layers of unbleached muslin) so none of the hairs from the plant are taken internally.  This care should be taken with any of the wooly herbs, as the hairs can be irritating when ingested.

Mullein flowers are a well-known remedy for earache.  Collecting the flowers is a summer-long occupation.  EVERY time I go out, a small container comes with me for Mullein flowers.  Although the flower spikes hold loads of tiny buds, only a few flowers bloom, at a time.  They demand to be gathered slowly; and dried carefully; so as not to lose their color, which causes a loss in efficacy.  Last year I made a pint of Magic Skin Oil, containing Mullein, Roses, Chamomile, and Calendula, in an Almond Oil base; which I use for burns, bruises, cuts and earaches.  Soon, I’ll be putting up another batch.  When all the ingredients have been collected and prepared I will write another post; complete with pix and instructions.

Mullein is  used in teas, tinctures, smokes, steam baths or compresses; and has no known drug interactions (1) (BONUS!).  Whole, fresh, Mullein leaves, used as a compress, helps with burns and bruises; and become wonderful shoe liners; which not only cushions tired tootsies, they also help get rid of stink-foot!. Teas and smokes are used to soothe the lungs and have also been employed to combat the flu and herpes viruses due to the antiviral properties.  To make tea, steep 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dry herb in boiling water, for 10 minutes; be absolutely certain it is strained well, then sweeten with a little good, local honey.

Mullein leaves are, also, used in non-tobacco smoking mixes; the smoke has medicinal qualities as well as ritual uses.  Howie Brounstein, of, The Columbines School of Botanical Studies, writes about and teaches a workshop on smoking herbs.  (see: MORE ON MULLEIN, below) 

Three or four drops of Mullein oil can be used to relieve ear infections.  A Mullein tincture has the ability to disinfect cuts and scrapes. As a poultice, it can relieve pain and swelling associated with sunburn and skin infections.  When out in the field, Mullein makes a great bandage for the nicks and scrapes, that are so easily collected!  And, Mullein is used to dye fabric; and was once, also, used to dye hair.  How cool is that!  I can’t help wondering if adding Mullein to my wild-crafted household cleaner, wouldn’t be a great idea!  There is, absolutely, no good reason to use toxic, chemical germ-killers, when Gaia has provided us with a plethora of clean, healthy options.  Let the good times roll!

Other  names for Mullein include: Aaron’s Rod, Adam’s Flannel, Beggar’s Blanket, Blanket Herb, Blanket Leaf, Candleflower, Candlewick, Clot-Bur, Clown’s Lungwort, Cuddy’s Lungs, Duffle, Feltwort, Flannelflower, Fluffweed, Hag’s Taper, Hare’s Beard, Hedge Taper, Higtaper, Jacob’s Staff, Longwort, Our Lady’s Flannel, Rag Paper, Shepherd’s Club, Shepherd’s Staff, Torches, Torch Weed, Velvet Plant, Wooly Mullein.

Just click any photo to enlarge, for greater detail.

Thanx for stopping by.  See you soon.


(1)  A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions, Schuyler W. Lininger, Jr. DC, EIC.     Healthnotes, Inc, 1999.


The name “mullein” has two possible derivations: It either comes from mollis, which means soft in Latin, or the Latin word mulandrum, which comes

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Medicinal Smoking Herbs for the Lungs

by Howie Brounstein

Herbal Smoking Mixtures Workshop

Herbal Smoking Mixtures Workshop taught by Howie Brounstein of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies and author of Herbal Smoking Mixtures, a groundbreaking Etext released over 10 years ago!

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Mullein kills viruses on contact, which makes it useful for healing swimmer’s ear. A couple of drops every few hours can be dropped into the ear to relieve inflammation, pain and discharge. It can be used for any type of earache.
Read more: How to Make Mullein Oil |


4 responses to “Magic Mullein!

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  1. Pingback: Hello Green! « Forageporage's Blog

  2. Pingback: Springing Into Summer, Along the Wareham River. « Forageporage's Blog

  3. Reblogged this on .::Earthen:Stewards::. and commented:
    I love this blog post! I found it to be very encouraging, informative and fun to read. Plus I LOVE all the pictures of this amazing plant! Thank you Forage Porage!

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