Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)! Disrespected as a lowly week but a beautiful and immensely useful plant.
A Mullein flower-infused oil for earaches in people and mutts is one of the best known uses of the plant.
Probably the second-best known use is the leaf as a slow acting but valuable lung tonic. It’s helpful for folks with chronic issues like emphysema, COPD and asthma. I like it for folks here in Durango where we live at elevation in a dry climate. I do use it in cold and flu blends but it’s not strong enough as a stand-alone herb for respiratory infection.
Mullein is one of the better known smoking herbs, and while bringing particulates into the lungs may not be ideal, I do enjoy herbal smoking blends :) For folks interested, my friend (also an herbalist) Karen and I will be selling non-cannabis blends for mood and simply because they taste good! I’ve been smoking a different plant (Pedicularis) for anxiety and heartbreak lately and it acts so much more quickly to soothe than when I use my tincture. More on Pedicularis as a spirit heart herb in a future post.
Back to Mullein…the root is what I use most frequently. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it’s used for respiratory support much like the leaf. However, I and a number of other herbalists use it for spinal issues, from neck to the base of the spine. It’s in my daily formula for chronic low back issues that result in sciatic or femerol nerve pinching. On it, I have few problems. Without it, my low back “goes out” frequently, even with physical therapies. No one knows exactly how it works (which, by the way, is true for many of the top-selling pharm drugs). Some herbalist use the leaf for spinal related issues/pain, but in my experience the leaf hasn’t done it.
Ok, back to processing the big pile o’ Mullein I harvested this morning……