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What is mullein? What is it used
Mullein is a biennial plant that grows in Europe, north Africa
and North America. It is known for its distinctive yellow-orange
flowers, which bloom between July and September. The leaves
and flowers are used medicinally.
Both mullein flowers and mullein leaves have been used as
herbal remedies since ancient times. During the Middle Ages,
mullein preparations were used to treat skin and lung diseases.
Nineteenth century physicians used mullition for inflammatory
diseases and respiratory and urinary conditions. Today, it
is still prescribed by some practitioners in the treatment
of otitis media and eczema.
In terms of active ingredients, mullein contains about three
percent mucilage and small amounts of saponins and tannins.
The mucilaginous constituents are primarily responsible for
the soothing actions on mucous membranes, while the saponins
may be responsible for mulleins expectorant properties.
How much mullein should I take?
Many naturopathic practitioners recommend a mullein tea,
which is made by combining one cup of boiling water with 5-10
grams of dried leaves or flowers and steeping them for 10-15
minutes. This tea can be drunk 3-4 times a day. Alternately,
some practitioners recommend 3-4 grams of dried herb per day.
For ear infections, some providers employ an oil extract applied
directly in the ear; however, this should only be performed
by a qualified health care provider
What forms of mullein are available?
Mullein is available either as a fresh cut or dried herb.
It can also be found as a powder, tincture or extract.
What can happen if I take too much
mullein? Are there any interactions I should be aware of?
What precautions should I take?
Aside from some minor skin irritations, mullein (when taken
in the recommended dosages) is generally regarded as safe.
There are no known adverse reactions or drug interactions,
and there are no known restrictions for taking mullein while
pregnant or breastfeeding.
Other Resources :
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More You Know About Nutrition
- Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et
al (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic
Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative
Medicine Communications, 1998, p. 173.
- British Herbal Medicine Association. British
Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Exeter, U.K.: 1996, pp. 140-41.
- Klimek B. 6-O-apiosyl-verbacoside in the
flowers of mullein (verbascum species). Acta Pol
- Klimek B. Hydroxycinnamoyl ester glycosides
and saponins from flowers of verbascum phlomoides.
- Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler V. Rational
Phytotherapy: A Physicians Guide to Herbal Medicine.
New York: Springer, 1998.