Everything from its flowers to its fuzzy leaves and stems can be consumed, just not the seeds. It’s most commonly consumed in tea, tinctures, or mullein capsules. Capsules are the easiest to consume but tinctures and infused creams can also be applied topically.
The History of Mullein
As with all the herbal remedies Herbmama provides, mullein has been used in holistic medicine since ancient times. The most common use is for acute and chronic respiratory challenges such as asthma, allergies, COPD, and pneumonia. We traced back a variety of other ways this power herb (also known as Verbascum thapsus L) has been used over the years.
In the Middle Ages, mullein was also referred to as the “Candlewick plant”, as the hair from its furry leaves and stems were ideal for adding to tapered candles. It was also used to create a superstitious funeral torch, meant to ward off “witches”. At the same time, “witches” used mullein in their specialty brews—which were most likely herbal remedies.
Fast forward to the 1700s, and Quaker women would rub the fuzzy leaves on their cheeks to create a makeup-free blush. When Tuberculosis was at its height, the leaves were added to warm milk as a natural means of soothing coughing symptoms.
It’s also been added to topical creams to heal and soothe incisions and some herbalists continue to prescribe smoking mullein with marshmallow root and peppermint for rapidly releasing congestive mucus. Smoking any type of plant is not safe for everyone, so consult an herbalist or medical practitioner.
It is even an ingredient in many craft beers.
Wondering why the leaves and stems have fuzz? Nature is intelligent, and the fuzzy finish provides heat and wards off grazing animals and insects.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of mullein, watch this new video on our YouTube channel!
The Wellness Benefits of Mullein
Respiratory Tract Support
The respiratory tract consists of the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs. These are all areas that are symptomatic when you have a cold, allergies, flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, and other passing and chronic conditions such as asthma and COPD.
Our organic mullein leaf has antibacterial characteristics that can soothe your sore throat (1). It is a dual-purpose expectorant and cough suppressant that helps you cough less. This is achieved by reducing the inflammation in your lungs and mucous membranes.
Proactive Lung Support
While some only turn to mullein when they are sick, those with chronic coughs utilize it proactively for its antitussive properties. Antitussives are common in over-the-counter and prescription medications. They engage the cough center in the brain, decreasing the sensitivity of cough receptors. This can improve coughing, shortness of breath, and inflammation in the lungs related to asthma, allergies, TB, and cough-inducing illness (2).
With its high antioxidant content, mullein is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It is also a soluble fiber that coats inflammation in the lungs, which may accelerate recovery time. The naturally occurring antioxidant flavonoids and phenylethanoids reduce topical and internal inflammation.
This makes mullein a powerful addition to your wellness routine, even when you aren’t experiencing any wellness concerns. For topical application, consider adding a few drops of our Mullein Tincture to a lotion or cream.
Good Night’s Sleep
You can take mullein any time of day, but for maximum benefits, consider taking it in the evening. This is because it provides a mild sedative effect (3) that can ease you into a restful night of sleep.
If you are sick, it will help you cough less so that you can sleep more. If you are taking it for respiratory problems that keep you up at night, take it an hour or so before bed or throughout the day while you are napping.
Antibacterial and Antiviral Effects
Research shows that the health benefits of mullein include antiviral properties that can accelerate recovery from the flu (4) and pseudorabies virus (5). It also fights a variety of germs and bacteria (6).
There is no need to wait until you have the flu or a virus, as you can take mullein daily or a few days a week to boost your overall immunity. Or maybe just take it during cold and flu season, when traveling, or when exposed to someone who is sick.
The naturally occurring tannins, flavonoids, saponins, terpenoids, mucilage, and glycosides, work together to deliver regenerative properties.
This may aid in the healing of skin infections, blisters, minor cuts and abrasions, sores, wounds, surgical incisions, eczema, and other inflammatory skin disorders (7).
In our YouTube video, we discuss a study where the topical application of a mullein and oatmeal cream reduced surgical incision redness, discharge, and wound opening by up to 80 percent and swelling by up to 90 percent.
Ear Drops For Ear Infections
Before prescription ear drops, mullein leaves were utilized to treat a variety of ear ailments, including ear infections. Follow your medical practitioner’s advice on how to treat your ear infection.
If you are working with an herbalist, naturopath, or other alternative practitioners, mullein may be an option they explore. Research (8) found that multi-herb extracts, often containing mullein, St. John’s Wart, garlic, and olive oil may soothe ear inflammation and treat the infection.
Mullein leaf benefits span far and wide, including its ability to paralyze ringworms and tape worms (9). Once paralyzed, worms will pass through your digestive tract, typically with ease.
When you are anxious or stressed your body produces too much cortisol. Cortisol is the “fight or flight” stress hormone that throws your internal balance off. This can make it difficult for you to sleep, focus, and make sound decisions.
Mullein is a neurotransmitter (10), meaning it may boost your mood and minimize brain fog. It also has a light sedative effect to relax your mind so that you can ease into sleep, which can be challenging to do when stressed to the max.
Reduce Joint Pain and Muscle Spasms
Mullein can be applied both topically and taken orally for anti-inflammatory purposes. Studies (11) find that it was effective in treating both acute and chronic inflammation, including arthritis and osteoarthritis.
This is achieved by balancing the calcium levels in your muscles. When too much calcium builds up it can lead to painful spasms or painless muscle twitches.
Relive Congested Lungs
Using mullein for lungs and respiratory health is why most people take mullein. This is because its naturally occurring saponins stimulate mucus production. While this may not sound desirable, it’s the only way to expel mucus from the lungs.
Mucus is a naturally occurring substance. When your lungs produce too much, it can restrict your airways. This can make it difficult to breathe.
Mullein can even help to make dry and lingering coughs more productive so that the mucus clears and inflammation subsides.
When applied as a cold compress or added to a sitz bath the anti-inflammatory benefits of mullein can provide hemorrhoidal relief. This is achieved by tightening up your hemorrhoids, which rapidly eases pain.
If using a cold compress, it’s easiest to use a chilled tea bag. If adding to a sitz bath, you can add a liquid tincture to the water or use dried herbs. Always consult with a medical practitioner to approve and personalized your hemorrhoid treatment.
Stimulate Hair Growth and Hair Health
Mullein contains an enzyme that is responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. This may help to minimize male pattern baldness. This same enzyme nourishes hair follicles, promoting growth and luster.
If you aren’t currently experiencing hair growth issues, it can be taken as a proactive approach to prevent baldness and slow growth.
Mullein can also be applied topically to ease inflammatory scalp conditions.
Safety of Mullein
Healthline indicates that there are no documented major side effects associated with taking mullein internally.
The most common side effect is contact dermatitis from topical applications, which may cause itching, rash, or irritation.
If you are harvesting your own mullein ensure that you only dry and use the stems, leaves, and flowers—but not the seeds. The seeds contain a chemical called rotenone, which can affect the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system. The seeds would likely have to be consumed in high amounts to pose a risk, but you must not eat them.
Mullein supplement benefits span far and wide, which is why many of our customers take them daily as part of their holistic health routine. If daily supplementation isn’t right for you, it’s an herbal essential to keep in your home for cold and flu season.
Mullein is most versatile in our alcohol-free tincture but may be more convenient to take in a capsule. For respiratory inflammation, it provides rapid relief. For whole-body health, you are likely to achieve maximum benefits between 60 and 90 days.
Ready to give mullein supplements a try?
Herbmama provides premium and organic certified mullein tinctures and capsules. Use them daily or as needed to improve health and wellness. Our products are pure with no synthetic ingredients. Buy online now to support your natural and healthy lifestyle!
- Sarrell, E. M., Cohen, H. A., & Kahan, E. (January 01, 2003). Naturopathic treatment for ear pain in children. Pediatrics, 111, 5, 574-9.