Homer’s Ulysses used this great plant to ward off evil spirits and magic. He had confidence it would protect him from evil wiles. While I would not depend on this plant for spiritual battle, it has a strong case in history for good reason. It was a remedy often used for the great evil that afflicted many of our ancestors: Tuberculosis.
Mullein can be found in many countries with temperate climates including the U.S. It has been referred to by many names such as Aaron’s Rod (a reference to its height, sometimes reaching up to 10 feet), Torches (the tall plant could be soaked in oil and used as a torch), Shepherd’s Staff, and Golden Rod. It has a rich history as an excellent aid for lung and respiratory problems as well as being used to bandage wounds during the American Civil War. It was also common for the soldiers to smoke the leaves to alleviate lung diseases so common in the trenches.
This herb is not just for the literature or history books, either. The more contemporary American herbalist, Dr. John Christopher (B.1909-D.1983) wrote: “It is the only herb known to man that has remarkable narcotic properties without being poisonous or harmful. It is a great herbal pain killer…. quieting and calming all inflamed and irritated nerves….Mullein soothes and strengthens the bowels and renal system, and is one of the most important for the glands and mucous membranes. It stops the escape of fluids from ruptured vessels and eliminates toxins.”
As we have seen with so many other herbs, Mullein has multiple uses without being harmful! It has several healthful properties including:
- Demulcent. This means that when taken internally, Mullein helps to soothe irritated or inflamed tissue.
- Expectorant. It can aid in the production and elimination of mucus from the throat and lungs.
- Antispasmodic. Mullein can help relieve muscle spasms, cramps, and hacking coughs.
- Anti-inflammatory. This herb, like so many others, carries the ability to help reduce inflammation.
- Nutritive. These are herbs that that supply substantial nutrients to nourish the body.
This is not a complete list of properties found in Mullein, and honestly, we may never know the full extent of the properties of herbs, but it is clear with this brief list that Mullein has a strong affinity for the respiratory system and aiding in conditions such as:
- sinus congestion
Mullein is safe for children too! It can be mixed with Chamomile for soothing relief for children.
Mullein can be found in capsule or cut and sifted leaves.
To make a tea:
Place 3-4 teaspoons of Mullein leaves in an infuser
Pour boiling water over the infuser and steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
Kimberly Anderson, ND
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