Mullein! One of my favorite plants! (And that cutie in the picture is now almost 6 feet tall!))
I grow an earache garden, a small bed filled with Mullein and St. John’s Wort. Add a few other things and say good-bye to antibiotics for ear infections! I use the leaves, the root and the flowers of the Mullein plant for different medicines.
Let’s talk about how to use all of this amazing plant that our Father has given us! The leaves are used internally for respiratory problems. The leaf is a wonderful expectorant and mucosal vulnerary. A long time ago the leaves were harvested like tobacco and smoked – I have never tried this…let me know if you have!
I do recommend making a strong infusion using the dried leaves and sweetening it with honey. Sip this for chronic coughs and sore throats. I also tincture the fresh leaves and use for chronic respiratory problems…mainly for bronchitis in my family.
I also often combine Mullein with other expectorants like Elecampane, Anise or Thyme. In the past, leaves were used to wrap fruits to preserve them…I don’t know anyone who has tried this but I would love to hear from anyone who has had success with this.
Externally the leaf makes a wonderful hot poultice to draw infection. I have heard it can even draw splinters but I have not tried that myself.
Mullein flowers are harvested individually every morning. It is a wee bit time consuming but well worth the time it takes. The flowers also have an expectorant action. They are especially good for those suffering with asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough and even tuberculosis.
To use the flowers, make an infusion and use it to gargle with for sore throat relief. You can also tincture the flowers and take for coughs. This has been very effective for my family to help break up the mucus and get it out of the respiratory tract. You can make a syrup from the flowers….or add it to other herbs for a wonderful cough syrup – I always add Mullein flowers to my horehound cough syrup. But my favorite use of Mullein flowers is to infuse them in oil.
I use olive oil and add the flowers of St. John’s Wort and Calendula and several cloves of fresh crushed garlic. I strain this through cheesecloth when cool and bottle in a dark container with a dropper. This is the most effective cure for an earache or ear infection I have ever found. I wish I had known this when Jeremy was a toddler. He had many allergies – I knew dairy was one but I didn’t know at the time that he was allergic to chemicals, dyes and preservative that are found in most foods from the grocery store. We battled months and months of constant ear infections. I bought an otoscope and my doctor taught me how to use it and how to diagnose an ear infection in hopes of reducing my many trips to the pediatrician (over 50 miles away at the time)…he ended up with tubes in his ears at the age of 3. Shortly after that I learned about Mullein.
Needless to say, I began using this oil in my boys ears years ago and have rarely needed to use antibiotics for an ear infection since (only once I think!). If I have any doubt about what I see in the ear, I will take them to the doctor for a diagnosis….but I use the oil instead of the usual course of antibiotics and have great success. One of the best things about the oil is that it reduces pain on contact. I have found it most effective to hold the bottle of oil in my hands for 10 minutes or so until it is warm – this seems to bring the most comfort….then 2 or 3 drops in each ear canal several times a day has worked wonders for my family for many years now…I have used it to treat all of my children, myself and even my mother!
The root of Mullein acts as a diuretic. It is effective for UTIs. It can also help ease pain in the lower back and helps soften connective tissue.
I recently watched a video on YouTube about Mullein but it had nothing to do with medicine. A gentleman was teaching how to start a fire with a dried mullein plant. Evidently this plant is the plant of choice when you need to start a fire and don’t have the usual resources! It was fascinating!
Mullein grows wild all over my area…I hope you can find it in yours. If you can’t, you can always purchase it from Mountain Rose Herbs by clicking on the banner on the right or by going here for Mullein Leaf and here for Mullein Flower.
I encourage you to make your own Garlic Ear Oil. It is so inexpensive to make and you will always have it on hand! Keep some dried mullein leaf to use as a poultice or for tea and tincture. We are entering the season of colds, bronchitis and flu….add this wonderful herb to your home remedy arsenal and feel confident that you are prepared to meet winter head on!