Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, is one of the best plants to find in the wild. Known as “nature’s toilet paper,” the soft leaves can not only be used as sanitary wipes when in the woods, but the plant is also medicinal!

Also known as Aaron’s Rod because of the staff-life flower stalk.

Great (Common) Mullein is a biennial plant that can grow up to seven feet tall once it flowers! Leaves grow in the first year. They are fuzzy, gray-green, and oval to lance-shaped and grow in a rosette near the ground. In its second year, it sends up a single flower stalk of velvety, pale yellow flowers shooting toward the sky. V. thapsus is one of over three hundred species, but it is the one you will usually find for sale in stores and online. It prefers to grow in fields, on roadsides, and generally in dry areas. Great Mullein is native to central and southern Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia. It is naturalized in parts of North America, Africa, and Australia.

Mullein contains:

  • mucilage (like Mallow)
  • flavonoids
  • triterpenoid saponins
  • volatile oil
  • tannins

A great remedy for coughs and chest problems.

Mullein is best known for its medicinal properties that benefit the lungs but has been used since ancient times for many inflammatory diseases, diarrhea, asthma, and coughs. The leaves, flowers, and roots can all be used, but I have only found flower and leaf remedies. If you know some uses for the root, leave a comment below. Some even claim that Mullein can fight the flu, herpes, and some bacteria that cause respiratory infections.

Mullein combines well with other expectorants such as coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris).

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Second American Edition, pg. 281

Mullein flower-infused oil is great for soothing earaches and other nerve pain and is safe for use in children. In combination with garlic oil, there isn’t much this lovely plant can’t do for ear infections.

Tall yellow flower of Verbascum densiflorum, the denseflower mullein, or dense-flowered mullein, which can be used in the same way as V. thapsus.

Traditional uses include the treatment of bruises, burns, hemorrhoids, and gout, along with respiratory treatments. Mullein can be ingested, applied topically, and smoked safely. Not only can it be taken internally to help with infections, but when smoked, it directly impacts the lungs, helping to clear out mucus.

Mullein is an herb for the lungs and throat and can be consumed in any rational quantity needed, being basically free of toxicity.

Moore (1979), Backyard Medicine, Second Edition, pg. 127

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Many blessings,
Emma Lee Joy


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