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H
erbal Medicine Materia Medica
 


Mullein

© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Verbascum thapsus

Scrophulariaceae

Names: Aarons Rod, Great Mullein.

Habitat: Native to Britain, Europe and parts of Asia.

Collection: The leaves are collected in mid-summer before they turn brown, dry in the shade. The flowers are gathered between July & September during dry weather, & dried in shade or with heat no higher than 40 deg.C. The flowers turn brown with moisture & become in effective.

Part Used: Dried leaves and flowers.

Constituents:

  • flavonoids such as verbascoside and herperidin
  • mucilage
  • saponins
  • tannins
  • volatile oil
Actions: Expectorant, demulcent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, nervine, anti-spasmodic, vulnerary, alterative, astringent.

Indications: Mullein is a very beneficial respiratory remedy useful inmost conditions that affect this vital system. It is an ideal remedy for toning the mucous membranes of the respiratory system, reducing inflammation whilst stimulating fluid production and thus facilitating expectoration. It is considered a specific in bronchitis where there is a hard cough with soreness. Its anti-inflammatory and demulcent properties indicate its use in inflammation of the trachea and associated conditions. Externally an extract made in olive oil is excellent in soothing and healing any inflamed surface or easing ear problems.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a "demulcent & alterative, soothing, relaxing and stimulating in pulmonary conditions. Influences mucous, serous and glandular structures." They give the following specific indications: paroxysmal laryngeal cough, irritable chronic bronchitis, pleurisy with exudation, hay fever, asthma

Ellingwood recommends it for: earache, catarrhal deafness, ulcerations and other diseases of the ear, bronchitis, asthma, urinary inflammation, orchitis, balanitis.

To quote King's at length: "Mullein is demulcent, diuretic, anodyne, and antispasmodic. It is likewise said to posses marked antiperiodic virtues. Besides, it is mildly nervine, controlling irritation, and favoring sleep. Upon the upper portion of the respiratory tract its influence is pronounced particularly where the larynx and trachea are involved. The infusion is useful in coughs, protracted colds, catarrh, hemoptysis, diarrhoea, dysentery, and piles. It is applicable to dry, hoarse coughs, which occur chiefly at night, as well as to cough associated with an abundant catarrhal discharge. Its diuretic properties are rather weak, yet it is very useful in allaying the acridity of urine, which is present in many diseases. A fomentation of the leaves also forms an excellent local application for inflamed piles, ulcers, and tumors. The leaves and pith of the stalk form a valuable cataplasm in white swellings, and when infused in hot vinegar or water it makes an excellent poultice to be applied to the throat in tonsilitis, malignant sore throat, & mumps. The seeds, it is said, will rapidly pass through the intestines, and have been successfully used in intestinal obstructions. They are narcotic, and have been used in asthma, infantile convulsions, and to poison fish. The infusion may be drank freely. The flowers, placed in a well-corked bottle, and exposed to the action of the sun, are said to yield an excellent relaxing oil. This oil is also valuable in some cases of deafness, used locally for its effect upon the membrana tympani, and upon the secretion of cerumen. The oil, in doses of 1 to 10 drops, is said to give excellent results in nocturnal enuresis and in vesical irritation, caused by alkaline urine; it is also reputed a good agent to control painful micturation, in lithaemia, chronic cystitis, and urinary calculus. The leaves, dried and smoked like tobacco, are often useful in asthma and laryngeal affections.

Combinations: In bronchitis it combines well with White Horehound, Coltsfoot and Lobelia. In painful coughing, Priest & Priest recommend combining with Elder and Red Clover, and for asthma with Gumweed.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried leaves or flowers and let infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take l-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary......more
 
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