Mullein benefits have been known for centuries, and it is a plant native to Asia and Europe with almost 400 varieties available.
The leaves, roots, and flowers can be used in an herbal remedy, though the seeds are poisonous and should be avoided.
Native Americans harnessed its benefits by smoking the dried leaves, and in some areas this is still a popular method of administering the herb, particularly for respiratory problems.
There are a number of mullein benefits including:
- Easing congestion and clearing the respiratory system. Mullein is useful for relieving the symptoms of bronchitis, asthma, and some allergies.
- It can be used for treating sore throats and coughs. Studies have shown that it can slow the growth of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.
- The Greeks first noted the benefits of mullein for respiratory disorders. Mullein leaf tea is the easiest way to administer the herb for these problems.
- The plant has anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe skin irritations such as rashes, boils and chilblains. In the past leaf poultices were used on bruises and arthritic or rheumatic conditions. Compresses made from a mullein infusion can also be used.
- Mullein benefits the functioning of the thyroid gland.
- Mullein can be used as an astringent and the cooled tea can be used externally as a compress.
- Easing of digestive disorders such as diarrhea and stomach pains. It has an anti-spasmodic quality to soothe cramps.
- Relieving the symptoms of migraine.
There are no recorded serious side effects to taking mullein, but when used to excess it may cause stomach upset. Also, the hairs from the leaves of the plant may trigger an irritation in some people.
Mullein Leaf Tea
Mullein leaf tea has a number of benefits. To make the tea, the dried plant can be steeped in hot water to make an infusion. The leaves are a popular choice when making the tea, but for a sweeter taste the flowers are also recommended.
The mullein tea can be drunk hot or cooled and kept refrigerated to be used in compresses for hemorrhoids or other viral eruptions such as cold sores. It is the herb’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities which make it an ideal treatment for these conditions.
The tea can also be used to ease headaches and promote a restful sleep. When making tea from the leaf, it is advised to strain the infusion to remove any of the leaf’s hairs.
Mullein oil comes from the flowers of the plant. The oil is traditionally used to treat swollen glands and earaches. It is recommended if there is discharge from the ear or if the skin in and around the ear shows signs of eczema.
The flowers are steeped in olive oil for several weeks to harness their healing benefits.
Mullein is easily grown in gardens, and this member of the snapdragon family is a very distinctive looking plant. Its leaves can be over a foot long and should be harvested before the plant flowers. The leaves can then be dried and stored for future use.