Mullein

Mullein

verbascum

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: No
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used:
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About Mullein

Mullein transpires from the snapdragon family, Scrophulariaceae. It can be spotted from afar due to its towering flowering stalk with golden-yellow flower head like a cherry on the top. The name mullein is derived from the infamous Latin word mollis that refers to something soft. It has got this relatable name due to its soft stem and leaves.

This handsome plant is marked by the flat and open flowers with tremendously large and long leaves. Due to its exceptionally peculiar-looking flower stalks and leaves, the plant is highly prized for ornamental purposes.

Around 2000 years ago, Dioscorides has documented it a lung-friendly entity. Anciently, mullein leaves and flowers served as a chief dye for imparting color to the fabrics and hair. Traditionally, it was used to treat pulmonary and respiratory tract ailments.

Contemporarily, with researchers’ blood and sweat, some phenomenal medicinal uses have emerged. It does a stellar job at treating diarrhea, migraine, inflammatory conditions, tuberculosis, cough, gastrointestinal bleeding, colic, earache, bronchitis, pneumonia, gout, joint pain, and so forth.

Mullein is brimmed with physiological compounds like verbascose, verbascosides, verbasterol, rotenone, and coumarins which make it shine like a hero in the world of herbalism.

Growing

Mullein can be grown both indoors and outdoors. It can be started via seeds or and cuttings, depending upon the availability. The seeds of mullein must be broadcasted in spring in nutrient-rich potting soil.

For luxurious growth, mullein prefers full sun exposure and warm climate. It requires well-drained, dried, and slightly alkaline soil for growth. Mullein has fewer water requirements and tends to stay easy around dry conditions. However, when it steps into the blooming phase, it requires a little more water for better reproductive activities.

Mullein seeds begin to germinate after a period of two weeks. They like to stay untouched and do not require much water. Soon mullein grows up tall and smart to produce flowers.

The golden-yellow flowers give a coming signal to the pollinating insects to carry out the process of pollination. Later with fertilization, the necessary changes take place that paves the path for the formation of seeds. These are either harvested or dispersed to perpetuate the lifecycle of mullein.

Harvesting

A well-planned harvest gives the gardener what an herbalist needs. Leaves, for instance, if harvested in morning proffer more essential oil whereas those harvested in the afternoon are concentrated with glycosides.

Mullein flowers should be harvested on a sunny morning of summer, to avoid the spoilage due to remnants of dew.

The leaves and flowers are highly anticipated parts of the mullein plant so they are harvested by making use of a sharp pair of shears.

For leaves, only the ones closest to the ground are cut to encourage new growth.

The leaves and flowers of mullein are splayed on a sheet, covered with cheesecloth, and are left to dry in air for several days until they seem brittle to touch. They are then crumpled and deposited in an airtight jar to seal its fragrance and efficacy.

Using

For centuries, mullein is being cultivated for not only just ornamental motives but also for its remarkable medicinal perks.

  • Tincture - Infuse dried mullein leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place. 
  • Tea - Dried mullein leaves and flowers are thrown into a cup and steeped in hot water for just 15 minutes to enjoy a perfect cup of mullein tea.
  • Decoction - Dried mullein leaves, flowers, and twigs are decocted with water until half of the volume remains in the pot. The liquid is strained and the liquid is evaporated again on high flame until half of the volume remains. This way, a perfect mullein decoction is formulated.
  • Salve - Mullein leaf infused oil is incorporated in melted beeswax to formulate mullein salve.
  • Syrup - fresh or dried mullein flowers are boiled in water for half an hour and strained. The honey is then stirred in it to impart some sweetness.
  • Infused oil - Dried mullein flowers are infused with olive oil for 2 weeks and strained to form mullein flower oil.