Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Posted by Nathan on 2nd Jan 2017

Verbascum thapsus

Latin Name: Verbascum thapsus

Common name(s): Mullein, Great Mullein, Common Mullein, Cow’s Lungwort, Wollen Blanket Herb, Mary’s Candle

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Botany: Mullein produces a rosette of leaves during its first year of growth. The flowering stalk grows during the second year, and can grow as tall as 6 to 8 feet.

Habitat: There are nearly 300 species of Mullein native to Europe, North Africa, western and central Asia. Verbascum thapus is commonly found in the U.S., often growing in recently disturbed soils, open fields, and along roadsides.

History/Folklore: Mullein was the favorite remedy for pulmonary tuberculosis throughout recorded history in Ireland. In Ulster County (Northern Ireland), a decoction of Mullein was used for diarrhea, and it was mixed with other herbs for liver and kidney ailments. As a poultice, the leaves were also used in parts of Ireland for bee stings, rheumatism, and goiter (enlarged thyroid). In Germany, Mullein oil was used to break up earwax buildups that impacted hearing. And then Russians applied freshly bruised leaves to soothe skin boils.

Parts used: leaves, flowers, occasionally the root

Energetics: Root: neutral, drying. Leaf: cool, moistening. Flower: cool, neutral.

Constituents: Flavanoids, mucilage, saponins, tannins, essential oils

Actions: Demulcent, diuretic, anodyne, antispasmodic, astringent, pectoral, expectorant, tonic

Medicinal use: Mullein a strong reputation as a lung and respiratory remedy in many parts of the world. It’s frequently used for coughs, colds, sore throats, bronchitis and asthma. Mullein is also useful as a treatment for hemorrhoids. The root can be used for addressing incontinence, swollen prostate, joint pain, and back spasms. As a secondary support, Mullein can be helpful in formulas for heart conditions, nervous disorders, plus kidney and bladder issues.

Emotional/Spiritual Benefits: Mullein tincture can help provide focus and grounding to people who feel they have lost their way or can’t see their path. These people often feel disjointed, confused, tense, and have a sense of being abandoned.

Common preparation: tea, tincture, poultice

Contraindications: No significant contraindications


Hutchens, Alma. Indian Herbalogy of North America. Shambala: Boston, 1991.

Allen, David and Gabrielle Hatfield. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition: An Ethnobotany of Britain and Ireland. Timber Press: Portland, Oregon, 2012.