Mullein, often also called wild ice leaf, our lady’s flannel, hedge taper, or quakers rouge, is a velvet leafed plant blooms brightly. It is easily recognizable, and is one of the best known amongst the wild, or domestic, medicinal herbs.
In this part of the world, old people actually refer to it as “Indian tobacco”, although in the younger generations it’s becoming completely unknown despite its commonality.
It’s not native to North America, but this weed is benevolent, and now grows in many areas around the country, and around the world.
In times gone by, Mullein was used as a tincture for spiritual purposes. It was said to provide focus and grounding to people who had lost their way of life and couldn’t see the path forward. So this isn’t just about the healing powers of the herb we are discussing, it’s also about the social powers and influence of it as well on modern herbalism.
So let’s dive in here and talk about this fantastically powerful and easily obtain plentiful medicinal herb. After that we will discuss it benefits, and I’ll also discuss another powerful natural herb that is growing in popularity in the USA right now for several very good reasons.
Mullein Is A Weed With Extraordinary Natural Powers
Medicinally, this popular plant has many extraordinary features, containing several powerful active compounds:
- Saponins: anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antitumor properties
- Flavonoids: antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Phenylethanoid: glycosides, which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties
- Iridoids: anti-inflammatory properties
As you can see, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties are all very strong in the Mullein plant. Those are the three key tick boxes of any natural medicinal plant.
That’s why it’s been so popular in Europe and Asia for several thousand years. Primarily, it’s been used on the respiratory system, and I’ll talk about that in a moment, but it also has benefits for the immune system, muscles, central nervous system, and even the urinary tract as well.
Benefits For The Respiratory System
Most knowledgeable people think of Mullein mostly as being herb that can relieve respiratory system conditions and ailments. However, it uses are much wider than that, but it’s a sensible place to start in discussing the merits of using it.
It certainly excels in healing and protecting this part of the human body, which is why it’s focused on by many herbalists.
For respiratory issues I tend to use the leaf of the plant, as it’s considered to be best for that due to the concentrations within it.
It can be soothing and act as an expectorant, and it can also help to prevent infections from taking root in the delicate respiratory tissue.
So it’s little wonder that Mullein has been talked about more frequently and more generally in the past year, due to the coronavirus pandemic which is a respiratory viral illness. Mixed with the natural anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties of this herb, and you can see why.
For respiratory constriction, the leaf can be taken through smoke inhalation. It has almost immediate positive effects. The practical way to do this is to dry out some leaves, crumble them, and put them into an incense holder. Then light them, and let them smolder. Gently breathe in the smoke, and it can definitely calm respiratory spasms and problems. This is the ideal method for children and those with delicate lungs.
Also, Mullein is famous for its oil being used for ear infections. The warm oil can remove wax and blockages, and stop the pooling of moisture. That’s why buying it in oil form is the most popular way to consume it. This oil can also be burned in incense holders for inhalation.
Lymphatic And Immune System Benefits Of Mullein
Mullein also produces strong benefits in the lymphatic and immune systems. It can be used internally or externally as a poultice for lymphatic stagnation problems, especially the glands. The leaves can be dipped in boiling water, and when cool enough, placed upon the afflicted area for beneficial feelings.
Acute cases or problems, you can combine the oil with other herbs for consumption. This can also be used to help with sore throats, and other related problems.
Where you have a specific sense of burning or rawness, add rose with Mullein oil for maximum benefits.
Musculo-Skeletal System Benefits
Moving onto the musculoskeletal system benefits of Mullein, it’s one of the oldest traditional remedies for troubles with this part of the body.
If you have pain in the hips for example, then this sort of problem (especially if it’s painful at night and you cannot sleep), is to use flower or root within a tincture before bed. It’s also very good for sciatica
A practical point here as well, a firm pillow between your legs can also help to focus you and lessen hip problems.
Because Mullein generally reduces inflammation and pain levels in the body, it’s the perfect herb to help alleviate muscle and skeletal problems, which are obviously very commonplace, especially as we age.
Salve, poultices, tinctures, or infusion, can all help with joint problems, arthritis, and any other of the main musculoskeletal issues people acquire.
For me, just five drops of high-quality Mullein root in a tincture can lessen chronic arthritis pains in the hands very satisfyingly for several hours.
How Mullein Benefits The Central Nervous System
I find this flower best to deal with the acute pain from severe flareups of chronic injury, but it can also help with central nervous system problems as well.
Both the flower and the root can be useful in the treatment of nerve damage, or pain that stems directly from nerve problems.
But Mullein is not just about the physical central nervous system. It can help with problems in a depressed central nervous system.
A depressed central nervous system (which can also occur through alcohol or drug use), can lead to depression and anxiety.
Mullein root, flower, or even a combined oil, can be fantastic because of its relaxant qualities. It’s been used to deal with depression by many civilizations through the ages around the world, especially in Asia.
If you are suffering from any anxiety, depression, or you’re having trouble sleeping, then Mullein infused through any method can really help you.
Some Of My Other Favorite Natural Herbs
So I hope you can see in this brief overview that Mullein is a fantastically flexible herbalist tool.
The route is also diuretic, it can help with urinary tract infections as well, making it a powerful tool in combination with cranberry juice and other natural tools.
Alongside all this, it’s been used as an ancient wound healer, because it can soothe inflammation, and as antiviral and antimicrobial properties as well.
So in conclusion, it’s cheap, readily available, and something you can experiment with as a herbalist safely. That makes it brilliant for beginners, and as an all-round addition to your toolbox.
Another herb which is gaining popularity, and is just as ancient amongst certain cultures, is kratom.
Although there’s a war on kratom in the USA at the moment due to its ability to get you high and the way it acts similarly in our bodies to opiates, it is not an actual opioid at all.
But kratom can work very well to keep you calm, and therefore helps with minimizing anxiety.
Just a few grams of kratom can also lift your mood, not only alleviating anxiety, but also raising you out of depression. Alongside that, 3 or 4 g can give you a significant energy boost due to the fact that it has many alkaloids in it that are similar to caffeine (which is why white kratom is called “morning kratom”).
Red kratom especially has strong anti-inflammatory properties, alongside containing a high proportion of alkaloids which act as analgesics.
So although very different in composition, and at high doses it can be a very strong central nervous depressant and give you a rushing high (hence is recreational use), at lower doses, kratom actually has many the same properties as Mullein.
However, it’s a step up, and is certainly something you should never use on children or if you have underlying health problems. But within the herbalist toolbox, I would definitely recommend its consideration. For beginners, you could get away with as little as 3 g to calm you, lift your mood, and give you a small energy boost.
At around 5 g you’ll get the full spectrum of effects. Have white kratom available for more energetic mental and physical results, green kratom for a good middle ground, and red kratom if you are primarily looking to be calmed and have significant pain relief (especially at higher doses above 5 g).
In terms of buying Mullein, kratom, or any herbs, always make sure you find a high-quality supplier. Poor quality herbs are useless, and can increase the risk of side effects.
So there you go, Mullein is a fantastic addition to the herbalist toolbox, and why Bear Medicine Herbals recommends it as one of the first things have available for a multitude of internal and external ailments.