Mullein is a common herb in North America, though just like dandelion and plantain it is not native to this land. You have probably seen it in a ditch on the road side, or growing near your favorite walking path, or by the fence at the baseball field. It’s soft, fuzzy leaves have been snuggled by children and used as an alternative to toilet paper for many a year. It is a biennial herb, which means there is a thick rosette of heavy leaves the first year, followed by a huge, tall stalk with flowers the second year. The seeds spread off this stalk and the cycle begins again. You can pronounce it “Mullen” or “Mully-in,” or however you like!
Mullein is one of my favorite herbs because the leaf, once dried, can actually be smoked to clear the lungs. SMOKED. I don’t smoke anything, but I tried this once just to test the BS factor of the claim and I swear to you, inhaling mullein smoke actually cleared my lungs!
Mullein is a perfect remedy for that dry, scratchy cough you can’t seem to get rid of with just a few sips of water. A squirt or two of the tincture does so quickly and effectively for me.
Mullein can be made into a tincture, which is the easiest way to take it and what we generally turn to at our house. You can also make it into a tea, though you may wish to consider pouring the tea through a coffee filter before you consume it, in case any of the tiny hairs off the leaves have strayed into your cup. Mullein can also be smoked for its benefits (seems counter intuitive, but it actually works!) which is why I add it to Nik’s smoking blends and to several of my home health incense blends. The yellow flowers of mullein are infused into an oil and are a great remedy for ear aches, and help clear up an ear infection if you catch it in the early stages.
The roots of mullein are also helpful in healing muscle and tendon injuries. Check out this post on mullein by famed herbalist Jim Macdonald to learn more. This whole plant is an amazing piece of work!
I have plenty of this herb available and make medicine with it regularly, so feel free to ask if you need any help working with it.