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The Mullein’s plant towering flower stalk with golden yellow flowers can be seen presiding over fields and open spaces throughout most of the world. The common name Mullein is a derivation of the Latin word ‘Mollis’ which means soft and refers to the texture of the leaves. The plant is native to Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and Asia and has been widely naturalized in North America and Australia. The first documented medicinal use can be ascribed to Dioscorides 2000 years ago who wrote about its use for pulmonary conditions. The flowers have a sweet and emollient quality and an oil infusion can be made and used externally or in a natural ear drop. The large dried flower stalk was dipped in tallow and used as a torch, and the flowers and leaves have been used as a dye for fabric and hair. Native American cultures have smoked the dried leaves in ceremonial and medicinal blends. This is a majestic and versatile plant indeed.


The dried leaves were traditionally used as a tea supporting pulmonary and respiratory function. The seeds and flowers in both fresh and dry form have been infused in warm oil for external preparations. The fluid extract was included in numerous versions of the National Formulary of the American Pharmaceutical Association dating back to the 1906 Third Edition. The German Commission E sanctioned the use of the flowers for “Catarrhs of the respiratory tract” when used in a tea or extracted preparation. More research is needed to determine the exact activity of this plant and it’s preparations.

Uses of Mullein


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Mullein contains over 46 different groups of compounds most notably; mucilage, saponins, coumarins and glycosides. Some of the compounds that have received attention in the scientific literature are; verbascose, verbascoside, verbasterol, rotenone, mucilage, heptaose, coumarin, aucubin, and ascorbic acid, in addition to the minerals, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and selenium.

Parts Used

  • Leaf and Flower

Important precautions

No known drug interactions; Consult with your physician or qualified health care practitioner, prior to use.

Additional Resources

Akdemir Z, Kahraman C, Tatl? II, Küpeli Akkol E, Süntar I, Keles H. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Jun 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Blumenthal M, et al. Ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs.
Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 1998.
McCarthy E, O’Mahony JM. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.;2011. pii: 239237.

Ozcan B, Yilmaz M, Caliskan M. J Med Food. 2010 Oct;13(5):1147-52.

Sarrell EM, Cohen HA, Kahan E.
Pediatrics. 2003 May;111(5 Pt 1):e574-9.

Speranza L, Franceschelli S, Pesce M, Menghini L, Patruno A, Vinciguerra I, De Lutiis MA, Felaco M, Felaco P, Grilli A. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2009 Jul-Sep;23(3):189-95.

Turker, Arzu Ucar; N. D. Camper. Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2002) 82 (2-3): 117–125

Zgórniak-Nowosielska I, Grzybek J, Manolova N, Serkedjieva J, Zawili?ska B. Department of Virology, Medical Academy, Kraków, Poland. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 1991;39(1-2):103-8.

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