health benefits of mullein

Health Benefits of Mullein – An Amazing Herb to Know

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Many people are unaware of the health benefits of mullein and regard it as a plant to eradicate from their landscape.

The truth, however, is that mullein has many health benefits and is a favorite of many herbalists for its uses and versatility. Read more to find out about the many wonders of this remarkable, healing plant. 

Verbascum thapsus L.


Figwort Family

health benefits of mullein
Image by lumpi from Pixabay


To 7 foot tall in full flower; the leaves, to 8 inches.


2-3 feet

Parts Used

Flowers & leaves


Mullein leaves are soft with fine hairs, which irritate the mucous membranes of the animals that attemp to eat them. The wooly leaves protect the plant from moisture loss and insects. Mullein’s round, fibrous stem is sturdy and produces bright yellow flowers from midsummer to early autumn. Dried, the flowers have a faint, honey-like scent.

During the early spring here in the Northeast, one of the herbs we look forward to is Mullein. This magical herb of antiquity has many names such as Aaron’s rod, candlewick plant, hag’s taper (a personal favorite), cow lungwort, and velvet dock.

What are the Health Benefits of Mullein?

harvesting mullein flowers large shallow basket
The Health Benefits of Mullein

The virtues of mullein span far and wide. This herb has long been valued for its ability to support respiratory wellness, offering relief for coughs, congestion, and common respiratory discomforts. Throughout history, it’s been recognized for its soothing properties, particularly for ailments like tracheitis and bronchitis.

Beyond its respiratory support, mullein has a knack for nurturing various bodily systems. It’s known to have a calming effect on the nerves, aid in digestion, and promote urinary health. Additionally, it’s often turned to for its ability to alleviate discomfort associated with swollen glands and general pain relief.

Mullein leaves are prized for their lung-soothing qualities, providing a gentle, hydrating influence on respiratory tissues. They also contain saponins, which can help to loosen mucus buildup.

The flowers of the mullein plant are utilized to craft ear drops, offering comfort for earaches and promoting ear health.

And let’s not forget about mullein root, which has been traditionally used to ease back pain and reduce inflammation.

health benefits of mullein
The Health Benefits of Mullein

How Do I Harvest Mullein?

Mullein is best harvested when the plants are young.  I typically gather mid to late April and before the plant sends up its tall flower spike.

Collect young leaves and dry them whole.  Crumble them for storage and later use. 

When collecting the flowers later in the season, you’ll want to pick them carefully to avoid bruising.  Spread in a single layer on a mesh screen to dry. 

Below are three common preparations for mullein and what each one is good for. 

Mullein Tea

Mullein tea offers comfort for:

    • Calming dry, irritated coughs
    • Supporting respiratory health
    • Soothing throat discomfort
    • Easing chest discomfort
    • Assisting with swollen glands

To prepare mullein tea:

  1. Take a rounded tablespoon of dried mullein leaf alone or a mixture of leaf and flower.
  2. Pour boiling water over herbs and steep covered for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain the mullein leaves and flowers through cheesecloth to remove any fine hairs. 
  4. Drink as needed for dry cough or any irritation to the respiratory sysstem or chest. T

Mullein Flower Oil

Mullein flower oil offers a variety of potential benefits, such as soothing discomfort associated with:

  • Ear discomfort
  • Nerve discomfort
  • Discomfort related to hemorrhoids and piles
  • Chest discomfort relief
  • Chilblain discomfort

To prepare mullein oil:

  1. Pick mullein flowers on a dry summer’s day, and lay them on a mesh drying screen overnight.
  2. Put the flowers in a mason jar and cover with olive oil by at least one inch.  
  3. Cover the jar with a piece of cloth held on by an elastic band.  The cloth allows any moisture to escape. 
  4. Put the jar on a warm sunny windowsill and stir twice daily for two weeks. Stirring the mixture will keep the flowers submerged and reduce the possibility of growing mold. 
  5. After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice that the flowers have gone transleucent and faded.  It’s now time to strain the oil. 
  6. Pour the oil through a fine mesh strainer into another jar. If there’s water in the first jar, you’ll want to pour slowly to avoid transferring the water into the second jar. 
  7. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. 
  8. For earache, put 1 to 2 drops of oil into the affected ear as needed for pain.

Mullein Poultice

A mullein poultice can be beneficial for various purposes.

  • Gently helps with removing splinters
  • Comforts sore backs
  • Supports lymphatic health
  • Soothes occasional discomfort

To prepare a mullein poultice:

  1. To soften the leaves, place in a shallow dish and pour some boiling water on them.
  2. Let cool
  3. Place leaves on affected area 
harvesting mullein for medicine
The Health Benefits of Mullein

In conclusion, the myriad health benefits of mullein make it a cherished ally in herbal medicine. Explore its respiratory support, soothing properties, and overall wellness benefits to fully appreciate its healing potential.


The Outdoor Apothecary website is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is the reader’s responsibility to ensure proper plant identification and usage.

Please be aware that some plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects. We are not health professionals, medical doctors, or nutritionists. It is essential to consult with qualified professionals for verification of nutritional information, health benefits, and any potential risks associated with edible and medicinal plants mentioned on this website.

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