After spending half of the day getting the hens ready for the coming winter, it was time to turn my thoughts towards harvesting herbs and to begin the harvest of various roots around the farm.
Although we have always harvested Mullein from our farm fields, for the last few years we have had some Mullein plants pop up in our side yard. Each year I ask Elijah to mow around them. If you attended an herbal medicine class this year, you’ll remember them from our outdoor plant identification walk.
All parts of the Mullein plant can be used, roots, leaves and flowers! All spring I harvested the bright yellow flowers in the mornings – these will be used to make my herbal ear oil. More on that in a future post! You can read more about using Mullein in this post.
Mullein leaves are harvested throughout the spring and summer. I prefer the leaves before the plants send up their flower stalks. Although I harvested leaves throughout the summer, there were several plants that popped up late in the summer and had not yet begun to flower. I harvested the leaves from those plants as well and ended up with a huge amount of mullein leaves! They are drying as we speak and I will have enough Mullein leaves for the year and to share with others. Mullein has the softest leaves – very similar to Lamb’s Ear only on a much larger scale. Elijah thinks they would make good bedding.
You want to pick only the freshest, unblemished leaves. On the right, you can see the leaves I discarded.
In the fall, it is traditionally time to harvest roots from your medicinal plants. This past week, a hard freeze and snow was predicted so it was time to dig some mullein root.
You want to dig the roots once the plants have begun to die back. The flower stalks were dead although there were till a few green leaves on some of the plants. It was a great harvest!
I laid the roots out on the driveway and hosed off the dirt and clay.
Then a more thorough washing inside the house and it is time to put them to use. I’m drying some for future use and tincturing a good amount for a variety of things.
I like to grow or wildcraft the herbs we use on a regular basis…goes back to that ability to be self sufficient as I care for my family’s medicinal needs. Mullein grows wild all over our farm – having them pop up in our side yard just makes it easier.
I encourage you to grow your own medicinal herbs and learn to use them! Plant medicine is easy, fun and adds to your security when hard times come. Begin by researching issues that your family deals with on a regular basis, find the herbal solutions, grow them and learn how to use them!
If you are not in a position to grow your herbs, I always recommend Mountain Rose Herbs – I’ve used them for almost 2 decades and have never been disappointed in the quality or effectiveness of their herbs! Their Mullein is superb and very inexpensive! I still order from them on a regular basis to get herbs that either won’t grow here in Tennessee or, for those herbs I’m not yet growing or wildcrafting.
Don’t forget to save seed to replant! I just toss the seeds into a flower bed and next spring I’ll have plants! The seeds are very tiny (think pepper!) and are inside what looks like “larger round seeds”!
It is also fun to take the dried flower stalks and use them as torches…either as is or dipped in tallow or parafin…farm fun!
Do you use Mullein on your homestead?