Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) Overview

Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) other names: Aaron's Rod, Adam's Flannel, American Mullein, Beggar's Blanket, Blanket Herb, Blanket Leaf, Bouillon Blanc, Bouillon Jaune, Candleflower, Candlewick, Cierge Cotonneux, Cierge de Notre-Dame, Clot-Bur, Clown's Lungwort, Cuddy's Lungs, Duffle, European Mullein, Faux Bouillon-Blanc, Feltwort, Flannelflower, Fleur de Grand Chandelier, Fluffweed, Gidar Tamaku, Gordolobo, Hag's Taper, Hare's Beard, Hedge Taper, Herbe de Saint-Fiacre, Herbe Saint Fiacre, Higtaper, Jacob's Staff, Longwort, Molène, Molène à Grandes Fleurs, Molène Bouillon-Blanc, Molène Faux-Phlomis, Molène Thapsus, Orange Mullein, Oreille de Loup, Oreille de Saint Cloud, Our Lady's Flannel, Queue de Loup, Rag Paper, Shepherd's Club, Shepherd's Staff, Tabac du Diable, Torch Weed, Torches, Velvet Plant, Verbasci Flos, Wild Ice Leaf, Verbascum densiflorum, Verbascum phlomides, Verbascum thapsiforme, Verbascum thapsus, Woolen, Woolly Mullein.

Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) plant

The common mullein or Verbascum thapsus L. found in the United States is a biennial (thriving for two years) plant. The mullein is woolly in appearance and belongs to the Scrophulariaceae family of plants. During the first year of its existence, the large and hairy leaves of the common mullein form a rosette or a rose-shaped decoration just above the ground. In the spring of the second year, the mullein gives rise to a tall stem from the leaves and it grows to a height of approximately four feet. The apex of the stem is covered by a barb of yellow colored flowers. The leaves as well as the flowers of mullein belonging to the Verbascum species have been used for medical purposes since ages. Incidentally the flowers of the common mullein are very popular in Europe and are acquired from Verbascum phlomoides or Verbascum thapsiforme - the species that are indigenous to the continent.

Physicians believe that the common mullein has demulcent (a calming substance), emollient (something soothing to the skin) and astringent (a substance that draws affected tissues closer) effects and hence mullein is beneficial in curing bleeding of the lungs or tuberculosis and also of the bowels. The common mullein also has sedative (tranquilizing) and narcotic (a drug that relieves pain and induces sleep) properties and is widely used for healing ailments such as asthma, coughs and hemorrhoids. The mullein may also be applied externally to treat burns and erysipelas or streptococcus infections. 

At the same time, mullein is useful in treating bruises, frostbite, diarrhea, ear infections, microorganisms that cause most of the ailments as well as migraines. Interestingly, there are many who believe that the common mullein is also effective in getting rid of evil spirits. Most significantly, this ‘wonder medication' or common mullein may be taken internally, applied externally and even smoked to cure different ailments. The mullein has some very practical uses, but people seldom adopt them. For instance the yellow flowers of the herb may be used as a dye for blond hair and the fuzzy or hairy leaves of the herb may be put inside the stocking to keep the feet tepid during cold climes.

It may be noted here that the common mullein is one of the best herbs to treat most of the ailments associated with infancy or childhood. Hence, mullein is considered to be effective in healing tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils), chicken pox, measles and mumps. In the later case, the use of mullein is more beneficial when mullein is blended with another herb called catnip. Incidentally, the combination of mullein and catnip has been found to be effective in treating pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) also. A tea prepared from the dried or fresh leaves and flowers of mullein is comparatively delectable and hence easier for children to consume when they are sick and need the herb.

The common mullein can also be used applied externally for dressing skin ulcers, wounds, sunburns, common burns as well as hemorrhoids

Mullein is indigenous to central and southern regions of Europe as well as western parts of Asia. However, now mullein has acclimatized itself to all other temperate climatic regions of the world. Normally, mullein grows and thrives in open fallow land and also beside the pavements. The leaves and flowers of the mullein that have rich medicinal worth are harvested during summer months.

Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) Health Benefits

Mullein is a plant. The flower of mullein is used to make medicine.

Mullein is used for cough, whooping cough, tuberculosis, bronchitis, hoarseness, pneumonia, earaches, colds, chills, flu, swine flu, fever, allergies, tonsillitis, and sore throat. Other uses include asthma, diarrhea, colic, gastrointestinal bleeding, migraines, joint pain, and gout. Mullein is also used as a sedative and as a diuretic to increase urine output.

Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) picture

Mullein is applied to the skin for wounds, burns, hemorrhoids, bruises, frostbite, and skin infections (cellulitis). The leaves of mullein are used topically to soften and protect the skin.

Mullein has several medicinal properties important for treating various ailments, especially coughs and congestion. Mullein is particularly effective in treating disorders of the respiratory track such as tracheitis and bronchitis. The leaves and flowers of the mullein are widely used as an infusion to diminish the production of mucus as well as arouse the coughing up of phlegm or thick mucus. It may be mentioned here that mullein blends well with other expectorants (medicines for cough) like coltsfoot and thyme. When applied externally as an emollient (a substance that smoothes the irritating skin), mullein proves to effectively heal dermis disorders. In Germany, herbal medicine practitioners soak the mullein flowers in olive oil and the resultant substance is used to treat ear infections as well as hemorrhoids.

In manufacturing, mullein is used as a flavoring ingredient in alcoholic beverages.

Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) Side effects

Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) flower

Mullein is possibly safe for when applied to the ear, short-term.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking mullein if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.