|This pair of mullein plants was stumbled across on the
trail to Bulnes, Picos de Europa in Northern Spain.
Folk medicine practitioners have used the flower to treat brown recluse spider bites. The leaves are infused into water to fight upper respiratory infections and congestion. Mullein leaf tea is a favorite treatment of colds and coughs by Indios and Mexican people. (More)
More as an edible wild plant
Young mullein plant, early spring, second year growth, will
provide flower spike.
Be careful this plant could be mistaken for Comfrey.
(Verbascum thapsis L.)
Description: Plants sprouts a stout tall flower stem from a base of woolly leaves. Flowers yellow, ¾ to one inch, densely packed on a spike at the apex of the pole. Leaves to 15 inches in length, ovate, covered with gray hair, basal leaves larger, clasping upper leaves less dense, smaller.
Location: Found on waste ground, along roadsides, fields, railroad right aways nationwide.
Food: I have eaten the flowers sparingly in salads.
Traditional Uses: Tea for upper respiratory tract conditions, coughs, congestion and infections. Used for treating bronchitis and tracheitis. Flower is Appalachian folk remedy for treating necrotic ulcer of recluse spider. Folk practitioners pounded flowers into a blend of vinegar and Epsom salts and washed the bite 10 or 12 times per day. Leaf and flower infusion used to reduce and thin mucus formation. Induces coughing up (expectorant) of phlegm. Often combined with other expectorants: thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) for example. Native Americans made a necklace of the roots to be worn by teething babies. Decoction of leaves used for colds and raw crushed leaf poultice over wounds, and painful swellings. Mucilaginous leaves also rubbed over rashes. Said to be helpful reducing pain from stinging nettle. Dried leaves smoked to stop hiccups and to induce coughing (expectorant).
Modern Uses: Commission E approved for bronchitis and coughs. Flowers infused in olive oil are used in Europe for hemorrhoids and ear infections. Therapeutic teas are available over-the-counter.
Notes: My wife Jill suffers from allergies and asthma. She has used the tea of mullein leaf as an antispasmodic. Pour a cup of boiling water over tablespoon of dried, crushed or powdered leaf. Drink when cool. Add one or two of these plants to your yard, simply find a first year’s growth, a basal rosette of fuzzy leaves, dig it out and transplant. The next year the biennial will bloom—striking.
Veterinarian/Wildlife: Appalachian Recluse Spider Bite Treatment: For insect and spider bites infuse whole fresh flowers in olive oil. Pack flowers into a small jar, cover with olive oil. Let infuse in refrigerator for at least three days. Oil applied warm over bite or sting every hour for twelve hours. Dummies. Com suggests using garlic-mullein ear oil, 3 to 4 drops, 2 times daily to treat your pet’s ear infection (for details see www.dummies.com).