Wild Arkansas

January 8, 2009

Wild Arkansas: Common Mullein

Filed under: mullein, Verbascum, Wildcrafting — Tags: , , — WildArkansas @ 11:03 pm


Verbascum thapsus or common wild mullein is growing everywhere right now. The plant can be found in most pasture land and along dirt roads.

The velvety leaves, though beautiful are considered an invasive, because it is so prolific.

I’ve found several plants in my yard and intend to let them stay, not only because of their ornamental characteristics, but they also tend to have medicinal benefits.

Common mullein was introduced to North America in the early 18th century for its medicinal properties and has since spread to every part of the continent.

Common names of the plant include candlewick, great mullein, and old man’s blanket, though here in the states it is most often referred to as common mullein.

The Verbascum genus includes approximately 250 different species of mullein that range from extremely pilose (hairy) to glabrous (bald).

The mullein growing in NW Arkansas that I’ve found is a pilose specimen with light green velvety leaves arranged in a rosette. During the second year the rosette will shoot up a large stem topped with several small yellow flowers and tiny seeds that are dispersed by the local birds and wind.

The whole plant has narcotic and slightly sedative properties and has been used for centuries to relieve respiratory and lung ailments.

An infusion of the herb can also be used for inflammation.

Drying mullein leaves

To dry mullein leaves, pick from the base, but do not take the whole crown if you want the plant to continue its growth. Wash thoroughly and damp dry with a cloth or paper towel, then set on a screen and cover with newsprint or bind with string and hang in a cool dark place. If screen drying, turn about twice a week.

The leaves should be completely dry in three weeks time and can be smoked for respiratory ailments.

The fresh leaves can be used as an emollient or an astringent after being seeped in olive oil for approximately four weeks. Shake daily and leave on a shady counter or out of direct sunlight.

For more information on how to use mullein:

At Botanica.com

Article at Natural Standard



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