Medicinal and Edible Plant Guide: Mullein

Mullein is a prolific plant that can be found in dry, barren areas. This plant has been used for centuries because for its medicinal qualities. The medicinal qualities of mullein can be accessed from its roots, leaves, and flowers, and has been effective at treating a wide variety of health conditions, especially respiratory disorders.

smoke this mullein manNative Americans would smoke the dried leaves of the mullein plant (like tobacco) to ease the discomfort respiratory ailments.

Mullein creates a sweet, non-biting smoke, also is recommended by Grieve in that form, as well as a tea or strong decoction. Mullein is a good respiratory treatment.

Additionally for toning the mucous membranes of the respiratory system, reducing inflammation whilst stimulating fluid production and so facilitating expectoration.

It’s considered a specific in adults in which there’s a hard cough with soreness. Its anti inflammatory and demulcent properties indicate its use in inflammation of the trachea and associated ailments.

Externally an infusion made in olive oil is excellent in soothing and healing any inflamed surface or relieving ear problems. Mullein contains about 3 percent mucilage and small amounts of saponins and tannins. The mucilaginous constituents are primarily responsible for the soothing actions on mucous membranes.

The whole plant appears to possess somewhat sedative and narcotic properties.

The dried leaves are sometimes smoked in an ordinary tobacco pipe to relieve the irritation of the respiratory mucus membranes, and will fully control, it’s stated, the hacking cough of consumption.

Mullein is thought to be of much significance in diarrhea, from its combination of demulcent with astringent properties, by this combination strengthening the bowels at precisely the same time.

In diarrhea the ordinary infusion is usually given, but when any bleeding of the bowels is present, the decoction prepared with milk is suggested.

On the North American Continent, a sweetened infusion of the flowers strained in order to divide the rough hairs, is considerably employed as a domestic remedy in mild catarrhs, colic, etc.

Mullein tea is also effective at treating respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, allergies, sore throats and coughs.

Fresh(green) leaves of this plant are very absorbent, couple this with mullein’s anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties and mullein leaves make a great bandage for wilderness first-aid.

A poultice made from the mullein leaves soothes skin irritations, such as rashes, boils, and blisters. This poultice is effective for bruises and to relieve arthritic and rheumatic conditions as well.

And the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of the herb make mullein compresses an ideal treatment for hemorrhoids and cold sores.

Other uses for this plant include as a remedy for complications to Lyme disease, urinary incontinence, recurring bladder infections, interstitial cystitis and to treat spinal and muscle injuries.

It also has a mild narcotic effect on some people and has been used as a sleep aid and to relieve abdominal cramping.

Mullein is sometimes referred to as the “woodsman’s toilet paper” because of its large, soft and absorbent leaves.


If you are interested in herbal remedies, this is a plant you should have mullein in your garden. It is primarily used for respiratory ailments. It has been used as an effective treatment for asthma, whooping cough, bronchitis, hoarseness, pneumonia, earaches, colds, chills, flu, allergies, tonsillitis, and sore throat.

The herb produces an expectorant action which is attributed to the triterpenoid saponins present. Additionally, it contains tannins which help shrink inflamed and swollen respiratory passages, thus allowing for easier breathing.

It also has an antispasmodic effect, relaxing muscles and relieving chronic coughing. It has even been an effective treatment for tuberculosis since it inhibits mycobacterium, the bacteria which causes the illness.

H/T: Mullein photo

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