Tips for Growing Mullein
Verbascum, White Mullein, Mullein Dock, Our Lady's Flannel, Torches, Velvet Dock, Blanket Herb, Candlewick Plant, Beggar's Stalk, Golden Rod, Velvet Plant, Beggar's Blanket. Woollen, Adam's Flannel, Rag Paper, Bullock's Lungwort, Wild Ice Leaf, Clown's Lungwort, Duffle, Fluffweed, Hare's Beard, Old Man's Flannel.
Few plants have as many common names as Mullein. This may be due to its extensive use as both a medicinal herb, as well as an excellent source of household candles. Legend holds that the plant could ward off evil spirits. In fact, ancient history cites mullein as the plant that Ulysses carried to protect himself against the evil Circe. Both the flowers and the leaves have been used historically as a remedy for a vast number of health conditions.
HERBAL PROPERTIES AND USES:
Medicinally, mullein is a demulcent, emollient and astringent herb. While the whole plant holds mild sedative/narcotic properties, the leaves and flowers are useful for treating conditions of the chest, lungs and bowels. Moreover, it may aid in calming cough and reducing the symptoms of asthma and spasmodic coughs in general. Topical poultices made from mullein leaves have been used to reduce the pain and irritation of hemorrhoids. The plants demulcent and astringent properties aid in the treatment of diarrhea, and it has been used in herbal medicine as a general nutritive tonic for the bowels. Mullein flowers have also been used in the treatment of ringworm, burns, erysipelas, piles, mucus membrane inflammations, frost bites, wounds, bruises and headache. Finally, mullein oil is a known bactericide, with the marked ability to kill germs, and is a useful treatment for herpes, colds, flu, gout, tuberculosis, croup, sore throat, and general inflammation of the airways.
Mullein Cultivation and Growing Methods
Leaves, flowers, and roots
Slightly alkaline and dry soil.
Thrives best in partial to full sun.
30cm to 1.5M in height
Scatter liberally on the top of potting soil and press them slightly into the ground. Can be spaced 30 to 40cm, with larger varieties spaced 90cm apart or individually.
Grows well all over Europe, temperate Asia and in North America. It is exceedingly found growing as a weed in the eastern U.S.
Plant seedlings indoors in early spring. If you plant them directly into the soil, there is a great likelihood that they will be consumed by birds, who adore these tasty seeds, before they have the chance to germinate.
Can be pollinated by root cuttings in the late fall when the plant goes into its dormant state.
It takes approximately two weeks for mullein seed to germinate. Once the plant has two leaves, it can be transplanted outdoors in early summer. Flowers do not appear until the year following the first outdoor transplant. Once mature, the plant flowers during July and August.
Flowers can be collected from 2 year old plants as they open. Leaves can be harvested as they appear, in the first year of growth.
DRYING METHODS / YIELD:
Remove the green portions of the flowers and leaves in the sun directly.
A single plant can create 100,000-180,000 seeds which may remain useable for more than 100 years!
PRESERVATION / PACKAGING METHODS:
Flower buds and leaves may also be stored in an airtight glass container for up to one year.
ESSENTIAL OIL USE:
Mullein oil has been used in the treatment of earache and discharge from the ear. It has also been used in the treatment of eczema.
The main constituents responsible for the soothing and topical actions of mullein are saponins, mucilage and tannins.
IS THIS AN EDIBLE PLANT:
CAUTIONS / CONTRAINDICATIONS:
Do not eat mullein seeds, as they are toxic. Also, when taken internally in excess, mullein can be mildly toxic. The tiny hairs on mullein leaf can also be irritating, so be sure to strain mullein leaf tea before drinking. Talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
None to date, but care should be taken with all herbal medicines.
Clinical Research About Mullein
- Tyler VE. The New Honest Herbal, GF Stickley Co, 1987.
- Gao HM, Liu B, Hong JS. Critical role for microglial NADPH oxidase in rotenone-induced degeneration of dopaminergic neurons. J Neurosci. 2003 Jul 16;23(15):6181-7. [PMID: 12867501]
- Krushkov I, et al. Nauchni Trudove Na Visshiia Meditsinski Institut , Sofiia 1970;49(4):19-23.
- Slagowska A, et al. Pol J Pharmacol Pharm 1987;39(1):55-61.
- Zgorniak-Nowosielska I, et al. Arch Immunol Ther Exp 1991;39(1-2):103-8.
- Kay M. Herbalgram 1994;32:42-45, 57.
- A Modern Herbal: The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic & Economic Properties. Margaret Grieve, Maud Grieve. pg.565 - http://books.google.com/books?id=KgfHxvGFHAoC&pg=PA565
- Gray, Linda. Grow Your Own Pharmacy. 1992. http://www.botanical.com