Coopdog, if your pups got heart problems; you might want to consider finding a tincture of hawthorne to give em. Hawthorne is the
premier heart tonic, and is super super safe. https://www.christop...-for-the-heart/
I ordered some organic mullein in tea form from Buddha Teas. Not a huge amount, but around 20 bags. I think it has potential to help my partner with cough and difficulty breathing. I like the feedback I have been reading on it's beneficial effects, and the fact that it seems to have no negative or side effects.
I am anxious for it to get here and will leave some personal observations after a few test runs. My partner has severe asthma and level 2 congestive heart failure, so I don't expect any miracles, but I am hoping it might provide some relief in intensity of cough and make it a little easier to catch his breath when its a tough day.
Skywatcher; If I were you I'd do some research into Angelica. I sent you a pm.
Mullien is incredible.
Here's a monograph from an herbalist I like.
From www.herbcraft.orgMullein mullein Verbascum thapsus; V. olympicum
Mullein is an easily recognizable plant found in fields, meadows, and anywhere the ground has been disturbed in a wide array of habitats. It is a biennial, putting forth a rosette of fuzzy leaves upon the ground the first year, and sending up its characteristically tall yellow flowered stalk the second. After seeding, the plant dies. The dead brown stalk is an excellent indicator of where to look for first year rosettes, as they can often be found within 15-20 feet from the dead stalk. All parts of the plant offer an abundance of healing medicine.
Mullein leaves are the most commonly used part of the plant; easily identifiable and among the first remedies to be thought of in treating stuck congestion associated with dry coughs, as they are an excellent moistening expectorant. A gentle demulcent
, mullein leaf aids the lungs in expelling drier mucus and phlegm by loosening it from the walls of the lungs and allowing it to be coughed up. Because of this, mullein may actually initiate
coughing, even though that's the symptom being treated. What mullein is really doing here is assisting the body's natural response to congestion - coughing - to be more effective. Rather than coughing and coughing and coughing unproductively, mullein will get you coughing stuff up and out. When the coughing resolves, it's because the need
to cough has been resolved, not because mullein acts in any way to suppress coughing. Mullein is especially good for treating hard, dry coughs that shake the frame of the body (often leaving the chest/ribs sore), and should be considered whenever one hears a hollow wheeze in a cough. A strong tea, the tincture, or syrups that include mullein can achieve this end. I often use a blend of mullein and plantain leaves when either mucus has dried out in the lungs, or when fine, dry inhaled irritants (dust, smoke, etc) form a "film" over lung tissue. Mullein combines well with myriad other herbs: marshmallow to increase its moisture even more, new england aster
for quivering, spasmodic lungs and asthma, a bit of lobelia for more intense coughing spasms, wild lettuce if the uppermost reaches of the lungs feel dry and tight... I could go on and on. Although mullein is preferable for drier coughs, it is a gentle herb and usually will not aggravate damper coughs, especially if used with more appropriate warming aromatic herbs like osha, angelica, hyssop, sage or thyme.
Mullein leaf has a tradition of being smoked for respiratory issues as well, but smoking any
herb limits its indications, and in the case of mullein, it changes them. ALL smokes are drying (because the inhaled ashes of the herb you burn have no moisture left in them, and will absorb moisture from the lung tissues they come into contact with) and hot (because you lit them on fire). So, smoked
mullein is no longer indicated for dry coughs; it can indeed significantly aggravate them and interfere with the important immunological role that mucus plays by keeping it dry. Instead, smokes may be useful in some cases for wetter/damper congestion, giving it more body which allows it to be more easily coughed up and expectorated. I learned from herbalist Joyce Wardwell that mullein smoke can sometimes significantly ease the tension and spasm of whooping cough. In most cases, whisps of smoke are better than tokes. Burning mullein leaf and wafting the smoke to the person needing to inhale it is less irritating than smoking it directly out of a pipe or joint, and can be equally or more effective.
Mullein leaves are, of course, also commonly used in smoking blends... not to address respiratory issues, but just because people like to smoke plants. Many will say that smoking anything is inherently bad for you, though I think a good case can be made that this is a cultural prejudice. Mullein leaf really doesn't have a lot of flavor, and is used largely because it burns so well, and can help a blend that mixes harder roots and barks with softer, faster burning leaves smoke more evenly. If smoking for pleasure (or for ceremony), do try to keep your smoke blend just a wee bit moist; bone dry herbs are a harsher smoke. An apple slice in you mix for a bit can moisten it up. Also, smoke blend tip: Don't just mix a bunch of aromatic herbs into mullein leaf and expect it to be good. Smokes need body, and the plants that adds body to smoke blends
Though seemingly rarely utilized for the purpose, mullein leaf has also been revered as a lymphatic herb. Folk herbalist Tommie Bass says it can be applied as a compress to any instance of glandular swelling. The physiomedicalist William Cook
called mullein an "absorbent" of "peculiar and reliable power." He recommended mullein leaves be made into a strong decoction, and that used to wet more leaves which were then applied externally over the swelling. These lymphatic virtues reside in the root and flowers as well, and my preference is to use the flowers when focusing on the lymph and glandular swellings... more on that below.
Another mullein leaf use, combined with a warning: A LOT of people refer to large, fuzzy mullein leaves as potential toilet paper, but this may not be such a good use to explore. You see, a common folk name for mullein is "Quaker rouge", based on a use in which Quakers, not allowed to wear make-up, would rub their cheeks with the leaves to create a rosy "blush" effect. Why would that be? It's because those hairs, which superficially feel rather soft, are actually somewhat irritating to the skin (and more to some people than others), and the "blush" effect is the result of the inflammation of irritated tissues. My suggestion is that before you rub them on your nethers, try rubbing them on the inside of our wrist or elbow. If, in 10 or 20 minutes, it's all red and itchy, you'll be very happy you didn't try it on your crotch first. Mullein's fuzzy "hairs" can sometimes be irritating to the throat and GI tissues of some people even in teas and tinctures. While this is not super common, it does happen, so I usually recommend straining mullein leaf preparations through a paper coffee filter.
Tincture making tip: People say that because mullein leaf is so fluffy, you can't make a 1:2 tincture
with it because the menstruum won't cover the leaves. But, if you use the right amount of leaf to an appropriately sized jar
, you absolutely can. Start off with 10 ounces of chopped fresh mullein leaf, and cram it into a quart jar... it may take some packing. Then add 20 ounces of high proof vodka or ethanol. You want the alcohol covering the herb and right up to the lip of the jar. If there's still headroom, you can try adding another half ounce of dried leaf and another ounce of alcohol. As soon as its filled to the brim, you're golden. This 1:2 tincture of mullein leaf isn't really "stronger" (as in: more effective) than a folk style tincture where you just fill and pour, but it is more concentrated
, so there's more mullein extractives and virtues in each drop.
(pic by Traci Picard)
The flowers of mullein are likewise an important and exquisite remedy. An infused oil of mullein flowers is perhaps one of the first remedies to think of in treating an ear infection, easing pain and speeding recovery time. I think that mullein flower is specifically anti-inflammatory, analgesic and helps to move congested lymph when applied topically. Because the flowers are quite tiny, about the size of a kernel of corn, you'll need to have access to plenty of plants, and use a small jar so you're able to fill it (or you can grow Verbascum olympicum
, which yields both more and larger flowers). The oil is simple to prepare: Find an abundance of flowering mullein, pick the flowers (be merciful to the little critters so often found in them!), let them wilt to reduce their moisture content (too much water can ruin infused oils) and let said critters escape. You can put the wilted flowers in a small mason jar filled to the brim with oil out in the sun for a few weeks, but because, even wilted, the flowers want to hold on to their moisture I prefer to extract them in a double boiler
for a couple/few days... this is faster, and in my experience leads to a better oil. Once it's strained out, this oil can be applied with a dropper or Q-tip and allowed to work its magic, but never apply any kind of oil if the ear drum is perforated. Mullein flower oil is often combined with infused garlic oil, which is strongly antimicrobial, for ear infections, and any number of other plants could be added to compliment this duo (I like to add infused poplar bud oil for additional anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities). I've also used mullein flower oil topically to help resolve glandular swellings, and to treat infected piercings; perhaps combine it here with saint john's wort and plantain oils. It can be used to treat ear mites in animals as well. The flower oil has an old reputation for treating deafness, though I suspect this assertion likely refers to problems arising from the accumulation of wax, where the warm oil helps to clear this obstruction, or swelling of the ear canal, which its lymph moving properties might help to resolve. Prepared as a tincture and used both internally and topically, mullein flowers lymphatic action can also act to resolve swellings and ease the accompanying pain. I have used a combination of red root and mullein flower tinctures to treat an abscess in the ear canal, and ease the pain and swelling. I've used the same combination, along with ground ivy, to successfully resolve Meniere's Disease
that was just beginning to manifest. Mullein flower, saint john's wort and jamaican dogwood tinctures have notably eased hypersensitive facial nerve pain in some people I've worked with. Occasionally (and seemingly more common in those of a hot/dry/choleric constitution) mullein flower tincture can also be mildly or even strongly relaxant, but I don't have my head wrapped fully around this.
Though it has been used in various traditions, few people know about using mullein root for anything... and yet, it is an incredibly useful remedy; one of the most important in my practice. As far as I know, it was herbalist Michael Moore who introduced it as a remedy for treating urinary incontinence or loss of urinary control; he suggests that it tones and strengthens the trigone sphincter at the base of the bladder. Northern California herbalist Christa Sinadinos elaborates on this usage: "Mullein root is valuable as a bladder tonifying agent for the treatment of urinary incontinence (loss of urine with out warning.) It strengthens and improves the tone of the trigone muscle (a triangular area at the base of the bladder) and significantly enhances bladder function. It has soothing diuretic properties; it increases the volume of urination, while decreasing the frequency of urination. Mullein root also has mild astringent properties which reduce inflammation in the mucosa of the bladder. It does not irritate or over stimulate bladder or kidney function. Mullein root can be used as a long term tonic for individuals with urinary incontinence, recurring bladder infections, interstitial cystitis, and benign prostatic hypertrophy." Christa offers flat out exceptional insights on this usage here
(please note that pages 2 & 3 are mixed up). To potentiate it's tonifying actions when addressing incontinence, I will usually combine it with a bladder astringent such as agrimony, wintergreen, or staghorn sumach leaves, stems and berries.
Like mullein flower, mullein's root also seems to allay some types of nerve pain, and can be helpful as a possible treatment for Bell's Palsy, an indication shared by David Winston. I use it primarily for facial and spinal-based nerve pain, usually in some larger formula which might include saint john's wort, sweet clover (Melilotus
), prickly ash, and/or jamaican dogwood. Both topical and internal use seems to yield the best results.
But perhaps the thing I most use mullein root for is to facilitate "proper alignment" of the structural system, and here I know of no other plant that acts as virtuously. It may be that there are broken bones I need to be sure line up (indication via Matthew Wood, though he uses the leaves), but spinal misalignment is my primary indication. I can personally attest to mullein’s usefulness in treating spinal injuries, as I’ve used it for decades now. The first time I ever used it (and before I knew it could be used this way), I woke up with my back out. I couldn't stand up straight, and while my mouth was saying, "Ow, ow, ow..." within me I kept hearing "mullein root, mullein root, mullein root..." droning over and over in my head. After trying a bunch of other stuff, both herbal and physical, I drove out to a field where I knew it grew, and searched for it under the snow (mullein's fuzzy leaves insulate it and it usually overwinters). I found some, and as I was digging it up I "heard" Mullein root stores up energy the entire first year of its life to put forth its strong, straight yet flexible flower stalk; and using it gives us access to that stored energy
. I chopped up a root, made tea, took a sip then a breath and was completely better. Really.
A year or so after that (in which time I'd used the root a few more times, always with rather amazing results), I suffered the rather dreadful disc herniation while, when changing a tire on the side of a dirt road my jack slipped and I jumped back away from the falling car with a heavy tire in my arms. Along with really subtle Grostic chiropractic work, I used the rather agonizing experience to figure out how best to treat this condition
. I eventually ended up blending together a formula with solomon’s seal, mullein root, horsetail and the wee-est bit of goldenseal to excellent results. This being a more significant injury the effect was by no means immediate, but I could feel it working every time I took it. This blend was created not so much as a pain reliever, but to restore strength and integrity to the disc, connective tissues and fascia. To address the attendant muscle spasms (which were the worst part, in terms of outright agony), I used a combination of black cohosh and arnica tinctures, taken in frequent small doses to help ease the sensitivity & reactivity of the muscles. The results were excellent. I could literally feel the disc growing stronger and the muscles relearning how to be relaxed. Even now, numerous years later, if I overdo it and feel even a twinge of sensitivity in the disc, a few doses of some similar blend usually removes the discomfort. It's truly kick ass stuff.
Mullein root on its own, though, is also markedly effective. Prepared either as an infusion or taken in small doses as a tincture, it has been a lifesaver for me when working a bit too gung-ho has me wake up the next morning with my back "kinked" and not quite able to straighten up. I usually take about 7 drops of tincture, stretch out a bit, and I can feel myself shift back to alignment. It won't always work in one magical dose (though sometimes does), so take more as needed. While the occasions when this has dramatically reduced discomfort are too numerous to recount, it doesn't always
work... does anything? But most of the time I feel that mullein is a key part in any blend for structural alignment I create, and I've seen otherwise identical blends be significantly less effective if mullein root is omitted.
Over the years as I've been using and praising it, countless others have found it useful as well. In one past visit to Michigan, Matthew Wood and I were talking about this little known use of mullein, and comparing and contrasting his use of the leaves with my use of the root. One of the participants, who, though completely new to herbalism and perhaps a bit overwhelmed by the onslaught of information, went the following week to get some mullein (leaves; the root is quite hard to find, commercially) and sent me an email another week later, saying, "I've suffered with a herniated disc (the one between the lumbar vertebrae and sacrum) since my son was 15 months old. I ended up being on bed rest on a cortisone "blast" for a week at that time. The disc is really thin and the area has been fragile since then. So, my back got really whacked out a couple of weeks ago and I didn't want to go the Motrin route. I purchased some mullein tincture at my local health food haunt and by the time I was half way to Commerce (from Ferndale) to pick my son up my back was feeling so much better... The mullein has been a life saver." This is just one story of so many that have been shared with me over perhaps two decades (and incidentally, this person is a fine herbalist now) . Mullein root is one of the things I get the most email about, from people whose injuries it turned around.
While I generally use the root as opposed to the leaves of mullein for structural and spinal alignment issues, I once had a remarkably lucid dream about how the leaves could be picked proportionally along the flowering stalk to the area along the spine that is kinked. Try it.
Perhaps, as opposed to a physical complaint, the need for alignment is more... esoteric: someone is scattered all over the place, and needs to focus and direct their energies in a more focused way. Mullein root may assist us in such a need. Try carrying some around with you, in your purse, in your pocket, in a medicine bag. Or take a few drops of tincture. Or rub a bit into your wrists or heart or temples.
These are all things I have direct knowledge and personal experience with, and I've largely left out things I've heard of but haven't tried (I've not yet bruised mullein and let it blacken to see to what degree that increases its pain relieving effects, or used mullein seeds to poison fish, or used the stalk as a drill to start friction fires...).
People think of some plants as "beginner plants"... plants that you learn right off the bat when you start getting into herbalism. Mullein is often seen as such a plant, because it is both safe and gentle and quite effective. But sometimes people then later think things like "Yeah, I know mullein and what it does...". What mullein has taught me is that we can't just learn some superficial uses of a plant and then think we "know" it, and if anyone is the beginner in the relationship, it's me.
Edited by Severian, 28 August 2021 - 05:48 PM.