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