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mullein tea and mullein plants

Feeling Under the Weather? Mullein, the Herbalists’ Favorite, May Help

Although we have only anecdotal evidence to support mullein’s health claims, for herbalists it’s the go-to herb when they’re feeling under the weather. Could mullein be right for you? Read on to learn more.

In This Healthy Insight:

  1. What is Mullein (Verbascum)?
  2. Benefits and Traditional Use of Mullein
  3. Where to Buy Mullein and How to Make Mullein Tea
  4. Mullein, Extracts & Supplements
  5. Tips for Lung Maintenance

What is Mullein (Verbascum)?

There are over 200 species of the weedy plant, mullein. You can see its tall, extremely fuzzy stalk and bright yellow flowers in fields, meadows and other open spaces. It thrives in compacted poor soils. Over the years mullein’s been used for everything from making candle wicks, to dying hair, and even warding off evil spirits. Among herbalists it’s best known as a lung soother that moisturizes lungs, comforts dry, unproductive coughs, and eases lung tightness.

Found in many parts of the world, the wooly-looking mullein plant lives for only two years.  During its second year, it sprouts a tall stem with yellow flowers and grows to about four feet in height. Ancient cultures, including Greece and India, have used the leaves, flowers and roots for a variety of health concerns.

Colonists introduced the gentle herb to North America where it was quickly adopted by the indigenous people. Since it was used so extensively in Europe and North America, it has many folk tales surrounding it, leading to its current rise in popularity.

A member of the Scrophulariaceae family, which also includes eyebright and foxglove, its botanical name is Verbascum thapsus and common names include candlewick, bunny’s ears, velvet dock, flannel plant, and lungwort. Mullein is often included in respiratory or lung supplements.

Benefits and Traditional Use of Mullein

Among herbalists, mullein is considered an expectorant, which means it assists in expelling excess mucous usually by making coughs more productive. It is also known as a classic demulcent, which offers a soothing coating over mucous membranes.

Due to its naturally occurring polyphenols, saponins, flavonoids and other properties, herbal medicine specialists highly value mullein for:

  • Soothing lungs
  • Moisturizing bronchial tubes
  • Encouraging productive coughs
  • Supporting respiratory health
  • Easing congestion
  • Providing overall comfort
  • Promoting sleep

Where to Buy Mullein and How to Make Mullein Tea

You can find mullein & similar herbs at online retailers such as Botanic Choice or at health food stores in several forms: capsules (by itself or blended with other respiratory-supporting ingredients), liquid extracts, loose leaf and tea bags.

To make mullein tea, you can use commercially prepared mullein tea bags or dried loose leaf. Pour 1 cup of water over a tea bag or 1–2 teaspoons of loose mullein. Steep for 10 minutes before drinking. You can drink the tea two to four times a day. Interestingly, hot water actually helps extract some of mullein’s nutrients and maximize its health benefits.

Mullein, Extracts & Supplements

  • Dried and in capsule form
  • Blended into a supplement with other respiratory-supporting ingredients
  • Brewed into a tea using loose mullein or tea bags
  • In a liquid extract to be added to beverages
  • Syrups for bronchial support

Tips for Lung Maintenance

  • Don’t smoke, don’t vape
  • Exercise frequently
  • Breathe deeply
  • Stand and sit upright
  • Eliminate any household mold
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Avoid indoor irritants
  • Avoid outdoor pollutants
  • Get vaccines as recommended
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Practice good hygiene to mitigate respiratory risk

With recent heightened awareness of bronchial health, it’s now more important than ever to support your hard-working respiratory system. A few simple changes today could help you continue to stay healthy throughout the year. If you’re considering adding mullein to your wellness plan, be sure to speak with your doctor or healthcare practitioner.  

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary.

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