Mullein Plant (Verbascum)

mullein before its bloom

Now is the time to harvest Mullein in the heartland. Its long spike of yellow blooms is easy to recognize in fields. Its soft, fuzzy leaves also make it stand out from the other plants. It is one of my favorite herbs.

If I find it “volunteering” in my garden, I let it stay. And I completely ignore it. I’ve had plants that were four feet tall and maintenance-free.

Yesterday I was suffering from terribly congested lungs after being exposed to lung irritants for several days.

I saw the plant growing in a roadside ditch on my way home. Then it dawned on me, it’s time to harvest Mullein, also commonly-called Lungwort, because it is THE plant for the lungs (AND other great uses).

I placed a 1 cup of this herb (1/4 cup dried) in a pint of boiling water and put a lid on it for about five minutes. Then I removed the pot from the stove and lifted the lid. End of recipe.

I grabbed a bath towel and inhaled the steam (be mindful of the temperature) for about five minutes. Oh! and I got a facial simultaneously. Immediately my lungs relaxed, and I was able to cough with success and breathe. This can be done repeatedly throughout an illness to give comfort to and clear congestion from the lungs.

mullein leaves
This herbs comes in handy often, especially with children. The steam recipe above can be strained for a tea and added to a child’s bath or soaked in a towel and placed on the chest and back (please check the temperature) when the lungs are congested. It’s also great to use this steam when you’ve inhaled irritants to help clear the debris.

The leaves are also great for the skin and can be soaked in warm oil for topical use including a compress for sore throats and a rub for the chest, safe enough for infants and the elderly.

The yellow flowers of this biennial can be soaked in olive oil and used for ear infections and ear pain and congestion.

The oil extract of Mullein can usually be found in most health food stores, and the flower oil for the ears as well. The leaves of Mullein can be dried and placed in jar with a tight lid and stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

Please only collect mullein from areas that are not exposed to heavy road traffic, industrial farming, or pollutants.

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