Mullein is a plant found throughout Asia, Europe and North America. It is often found growing on roadsides, in industrial areas and in open pastures. The plant produces flower spikes that may reach 10 feet in height, making the plant easily distinguishable from other flowering weeds. With the exception of the seeds, which are poisonous, the plant is considered safe for human consumption. There are several natural, medicinal mullein uses.
Cough Suppressant and Expectorant
Mullein works as both a cough suppressant and expectorant, making the herb useful in the treatment of bronchitis, asthma, sore throat, tuberculosis and other respiratory disorders. The flowers and leaves of the plant contain substances that are soothing to the respiratory tract. Mullein is generally taken in tea form by mouth to treat respiratory infections and symptoms, but there is some history of smoking the dried leaves to ease chronic or severe cough. Avoid eating the seeds of the mullein plant, and make certain to filter them out when making tea.
Anti-Viral and Antibacterial
According to Drugs.com, the antiviral activity of mullein may be helpful in treating influenzas A and B and herpes simplex type 1. The plant can also be applied topically to eczema to prevent infections, and may help treat bacterial and fungal infections of the skin and mucus membranes.
Mullein can be ground up and applied to skin wounds, burns, frostbite, and bruises to encourage healing and prevent infection. The leaves of the mullein plant can be crushed and wrapped in a porous cloth to create a poultice. The poultice should then be applied directly to the skin wound. Mullein may also speed recovery from ringworm when applied topically.
Earaches and ear infections can benefit from the use of mullein oil. Mullein works to alleviate ear pain and may help clear infections, but should not be used in cases where the eardrum is perforated. Place two to four drops of the oil into the affected ear canal at least twice each day for the greatest benefit.
Mullein may be beneficial in treating diarrhea because of its astringent and demulcent properties. Mullein leaves may also offer relief from the irritation and pain of hemorrhoids when applied as a poultice to the affected area.