The Health Benefits of Mullein

If you live in Colorado, chances are that you have seen a mullein plant. They are everywhere! As kids, we used to pluck the long stalks and use them as pretend swords. What I didnt know, was that this plant is a real herbal weapon!! We called the big soft leaves,”indian toilet paper” because…well… it came in handy when there wasnt a bathroom around. TMI? Sorry.

The girls and I were on a walk the other day (looking for rose hips…which I still need more of) and I looked over at the hill side and noticed lots of familiar mullein plants standing tall amidst the folliage and autumn leaves. So, I decided to take the opportunity to harvest some. Plus, I knew the girls would love the soft cozy feel of the leaves. See how nice they are? Just like slipping into flannel sheets at night.

Until recently I didn’t know much about mullein (in fact I didnt even know its formal name for years) other than the fact that my mom used to put warmed drops of mullein oil into our ears when we had earaches. After reading up on the health benefits of mullien, I can honestly say I am pretty impressed with this herbin’ weed. Here are some of the things I have learned about “indian toilet paper” ;) .

  • Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is known by many names and is commonly thought of as a weed and a nuisance by gardeners because it grows just about anywhere and is very hearty (it is even insulated by the hairs on its leaves so it can live beneath the snow during winter).
  • It can grow up to 7 feet tall and, when in bloom, has small yellow flowers at its top.
  • The leaves and flowers can be used medicinally in oils, tinctures, and even topically for burns. The roots are also useful for bladder issues such as incontinence.
  •  Verbascum (Mullein’s latin name) is an expectorant, meaning it is used to expel mucus from the lungs and throat.
  •  It is also a demulcent, which means that it has soothing elements and reduces inflammation.
  • Mullein aids in the promotion of cell growth and repair and assists in pain relief. It is often used to treat earaches and migraines.
  • It contains antiseptic agents and is used for chest ailments including bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, pleurisy and even whooping cough!!All of this from a weed? Yessiree!

The more I learned about the mullein plant, the more I wanted to use this awesome resource. So, I looked up some ideas on what to make and how to use it. I decided to try my hand at some garlic infused mullein oil. I found this recipe and whipped it up in no time. It was seriously so easy. You can also buy mullein oil in almost any health food store or herbal store. I posted the recipe below in case you would like to try it for yourself. Cold season is coming quickly, oft accompanied by the dreaded earache/ear infections.

Mullein and Garlic Ear Oil

Pick 1/4 to 1/2 cup of mullein flowers (I used some of the leaves as well)
Finely chop 3-6 cloves of garlic
Cover both with olive oil in a jar
Place cheesecloth or a similar type of fabric over the top to allow moisture to escape
Allow to infuse for 3-4 days
Once infused strain through the cheesecloth and pour into dropper bottles
Store in the refrigerator for longer life
Usage:
Warm the oil in hot water or leave at room temperature during periods of ear pain
Add 2-3 drops several times a day to ear canal
*Do not use if you have a perforated ear drum or if your ear is already oozing fluid*
God’s garden is so full of useful things, isnt it? I am truly enjoying the adventure of learning about the resources around me and using them in the interest of my family’s health. :)

 

Garlic as a Natural Antibiotic: A Germ’s Worst Nightmare.

What do Italian food, crunchy mamas, and natural antibiotics have in common?

*hint* take a peek up at the title up there.

I’ll even give you a picture. Yes. It’s garlic.

At least you cant get bad breath from just looking at it, right?

 

In all its potent glory.

I could list all the benefits of garlic right now, but let’s just suffice to say – its basically a miracle herb. You should definitely use garlic as a natural antibiotic. I’m talking the 007 of herbal remedies here folks. No, its not ideal for a make-out session, but if you can get past the…um…vibrant fragrance its great for almost everything else.

About 3 months ago I was bathing my youngest daughter when I noticed some peeling and cracking on her big toe. I figured it was from being dry. Living in a desert can do that to ya. But it gradually got worse, to the point that her foot was actually peeling, cracked, and bleeding. Since I didnt want to take an unnecessary trip to the doctor, I decided to do some research and figure out how to treat it on my own. You will find that this is a common theme in the Sharman household.
After a lot of researching, googling images, and comparing notes I figured out what it was. Athlete’s foot! I know, right? Seriously? I didnt think babies could get that stuff.

Regardless, I figured that since athletes foot is a fungal issue, it was time to pull out the big guns.
Here is what I did to help, and ultimately cure, Norah of her foot fungus.
Every morning and evening I slathered on a layer of GOOT. What is goot? Goot is a homemade mixture of coconut oil, garlic, olive oil, and essential oil. Its goot stuff!

I cant remember where I first saw the idea for this smelly yet amazing salve, but as soon as I read the ingredients I was sold. I’ll post the recipe for you below.

  • 1/3 C Unrefined Coconut Oil (I like the organic extra virgin stuff)
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 8 Cloves of Garlic
  • A couple drops of essential oil like lavender

Throw it all in a food processor or a blender…just something to make it nice and smooth. Then slather it on. You can heat and strain it to make sure there are no garlicky lumps, but I didnt. I also used this salve on the bottom of the girls feet at night when they were fighting a flu/cold too and on their neck and chest for a respiratory issue as well. It helped a lot.

I’m telling you- this stuff will evict any germs who have tried to make their home in you or your little ones. Its easy to make and a little bit goes a long way. Garlic helps treat bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. It is chock full of antioxidants and boosts the immune system. It also tastes good on fresh bread.