Singing the Praises of Mullein
The benefits of mullein consist of its broad use in healing ailments of the respiratory organs and a variety of other illnesses. The plant is tall, has large and flat leaves and boasts yellow, five-petaled flowers at the apex of the stalk. Originally from Europe, mullein can now be found in gardens across the US and on the sides of many highways in temperate areas as it easily self sows.
Mullein has a long tradition of use as an herbal cure for pulmonary related illnesses. The Greeks began using the herb centuries ago to cure what they termed old coughs. Once the herb made it to the Americas, Native Americans began to smoke it to relieve coughs and congestion. The herb is still smoked for the same purposes today in Appalachia.Benefits of Mullein Through its long history of traditional use in addition to scientific study, mullein is found to harbor many benefits that aid in respiratory function. Here are some of the most well known benefits of mullein:
- Clears congestion
- Soothes mucus membranes of respiratory tract
- Eases coughs and sore throats
- Relieves asthma
- Relieves bronchitis
- Relieves dry or unproductive coughs
- Antispasmodic properties mean mullein should relieve stomach cramps and help control diarrhea
- Covers and protects scraped tissues
- Softens and soothes irritated skin
- Relieves hemorrhoid pain
- Prevents secretion of fluids
Additionally, the flowers of the plant can be made into mullein flower oil, which is specifically used to heal earaches and swollen glands.
Does it really work?
Mullein has many purported benefits and uses as well as a long history of use that attests to these claims. Unfortunately, very little scientific research has been done on the effectiveness of mullein. However, many scientists and herbalists agree that the benefits of mullein are real based on the properties of the herb. For instance, The Complete German Commision E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicine approves the flower of the plant as an herbal drug. In another text, Nutritional Herbology, statistical data is compiled on 93 herbs and shows that mullein is the third highest-ranking herb based on nutrient richness. The herb was found to have relatively high amounts of:
Calcium, Chromium, Cobalt, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Silicon, Sodium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C
These nutrients make the herb a likely healer for respiratory illnesses.
Additionally, the famous master herbalist, Dr. John Christopher, considered mullein to be incredibly valuable. Dr. Christopher was known to use mullein in almost all his herbal formulas.
Growing and Using Mullein
One of the best attributes about this herb is that it can easily be grown in a small home garden. The seeds germinate in about ten days and can sown on the surface of roughed up soil and then compacted. Seedlings can be thinned and transplanted. The herb may occasionally need water, especially when young, but otherwise can thrive in terribly poor soil and drought conditions. Harvesting mullein is pleasant job. The leaves can be easily picked at anytime, but it's generally best to pick them just before the plant flowers. To maintain the plant, never pick off more than one third of the leaves. Dry out the leaves on pans or cookie racks, this will take several days. When the leaves crumble easily, store them in sealed containers in a cool, dry place. The leaves can then be used in teas or in food. Mullein can also be bought in stores as a supplement. Although mullein does not have a large amount of scientific research to support its said benefits, it does have a long history of effective traditional use. Furthermore, scientists and herbalists agree that the properties of the herb alone validate its use in medicine.