Saturday, March 17, 2012


An unusual plant was growing in my garden. It wasn't until last summer, though, that it became interesting; I had never seen a plant like it before. It grew into a very tall plant, was single-stemmed, and had large, fuzzy leaves. Its curious flowers were yellow in color, clustered around the tip of the plant.

File:Starr 040723-0030 Verbascum thapsus.jpg
Photo Source Wikipedia.

After it flowered, though, the plant died, which meant it was a biennial.

One evening, as I read Gregory L. Tilford's Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, I was surprised to see the plant on page 102. Its actual name is Mullein (Verbascum thapus), and it is a medicinal plant used by herbalists (and by Native Americans, historically). When I was sick a month ago, I was also surprised that Mullein is one of the ingredients in Quantum Health's Elderberry Syrup.

Mullein is said to possess strong antimicrobial properties, and is used to treat ear infections, as well. It is also used to relieve congestion, and teas can be purchased online. An infusion of Mullein can be used as a brightening hair rinse for fellow blondes (future self-experiment and blog post!).

According to Tilford's book, while adverse side-effects haven't been noted with Mullein, the seeds are toxic and should never be consumed under any circumstances. In large enough doses the plant can prove to be toxic due to the substances oumarin and rotenone. Don't mess around with this plant without the consultation of an expert, mmmkay?

This post was written for educational purposes only, please see my disclaimer. Consult a doctor before using any herb.

For more reading, see Gregory L. Tilford's Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West
Mullein info at Drugs.com
Mullein info at Alternative Nature Online Herbal