Mullein--The Soft Healer You Should Meet

Mullein is one of my favorite plants that literally grows everywhere I have ever lived. You’ve likely seen it by the roadside, highways or in rocky soil. You may not have paid much attention to it.


But if you’ve lived out in the wilderness for long periods of time, like I have on extended expeditions, you come to love this fondly called plant, otherwise known by hikers as “toilet paper plant.” I mean no dis-repect to this powerful plant ally by calling it by this name. When you’ve spent time living outdoors with no access to port-o-potties, harvesting this soft leaf whenever you can becomes vital to your essential comfort!

You can identify it by its soft, downy leaves that can be quite large. When this majestic plant is flowering, it sends up long stalks with small yellow flowers. Quite the beauty!


In the herbal medicine world, it’s best known for its effects on the respiratory system. In fact, the dried leaves can be rolled up into paper and smoked for direct and potent effects on this system. That was my first introduction to mullein in my early 20’s when I struggled with respiratory ailments.

It is a soothing antidote to harsh, dry coughs, sore throats, asthma and inflammatory conditions such as bronchitis or pharyngitis. But you don’t have to smoke it to benefit from the medicine in this plant.

The official name for Mullein is (Verbascum thapsus) and the leaves can be used fresh or dried as a tea or tincture (alcohol extract of the plant). Use a paper coffee filter, cloth tea bag or any woven cloth to strain this tea as it does have irritating hairs on the leaves.

If you are lucky to find a mullein plant in bloom, you can also harvest the flowers. They have a lovely soothing action and can be added to your mullein tea for extra soothing benefits. They are also very well known for their ability to heal ear-aches. When I find mullein flowers, I drop them in a small glass jar and cover with olive oil to make an infused oil.

Because of mullein’s anti-spasmodic actions, it is a powerful ally to help anytime you need to open your airways or soothe an irritated condition of the respiratory tract.

It is equally soothing to the digestive tract. So if you have irritated spasms of the intestines, bringing in the medicine of mullein to soothe the lining and calm the action of the spasms is a great first choice.

Be sure to positively identify mullein before harvesting or purchase from a reliable herb source. I always recommend your local herb shop if you’re lucky to have one like we do in my town or I am happy to direct you to good online sources.