Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014 - Mullein

Mullein.  You probably see it everywhere on the road now.  Here on the coast of Maine, it’s just starting to flower.  It’s just a common weed to most people, but not to me.  Mullein is a one-of-a-kind plant.  You’ll know it as soon as you see it, and once you can identify it, you’ll never forget it.  It’s so easy to find and so easy to collect.  It’s a very tall and stately biennial plant, which means it flowers in its second year and then dies.  It’s rich in calcium, chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, and silicon, making it an excellent choice for boosting mineral intake.  To harvest mullein, cut it at the base when it just begins to flower, as you see in the photo.  Hang it upsidedown and let it dry.  Then shred or crush the leaves and stalk (you can use a food processor).

Flowering mullein top.

Mullein is a great herb to take for strengthening the lungs.  Herbalists have used it to treat coughs, bronchitis, croup, and asthma.  In this case, an infusion is made of the leaves.  To make an herbal infusion, put about 1 cup of dried herbal material in a one-quart jar.  Pour one quart of boiling water over it, swishing to saturate the dried material halfway through and then filling to the top.  Cap it and let it steep for eight hours.  Strain through a sieve that is also lined with several layers of cheesecloth, squeezing all plant material well.  (Not all strained infusions require cheesecloth, but mullein is a “hairy” plant and you want to strain those “hairs” out.)  Store in the fridge and drink within five days.  The dose is 1 to 2 cups per day to strengthen lungs (such as after quitting smoking) and 2 to 4 cups per day for acute lung problems, such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, etc.

Mullein stalk and base.

Mullein oil made by infusing the flowers in oil has been used for earaches, ear infections, and discharge from the ears.  It can also be used for eczema around the ear.  The dose is 3 drops of oil in the ear, with cotton then placed loosely over the ear.  Mullein oil has antibacterial properties and has been used on humans as well as their pets.  See my red clover cures article for information on how to make an herbal oil and salve.  Also, the crushed fresh leaves (well macerated) can be applied to wounds and sores to aid in healing.

Go for walks in your neighborhood or along abandoned lots or railroad tracks.  You’ll find mullein and hundreds of other medicinal herbs as well.  Let the good Earth provide for you!

The stately mullein plant can be 5 to 8 feet tall.

(Yes, I have to put a disclaimer in.  This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailment.  If you need medical advice, seek a physician.)

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