Mullein Leaf

Mullein leaf is one of the popular herbs used for treating a variety of ailments. Read on for more information about its benefits and side effects.
The family of figworts, called Scrophulariaceae consists of around 250 species in the genus Verbascum and these plants are commonly known as mullein plants. These plants are often found as weeds and are natives to Europe and some parts of Asia. Almost all the mullein plants have a rosette of leaves, that grows at the ground level. A tall flowering stem is produced by the plant subsequently. Along with the flowering stem, the plant may have a length of around 4 to 6 feet. While, most of the species have hairy leaves, some have hairless leaves. The color of the flowers may range between yellow, orange, red, blue, purple or white. The fruits of mullein plants are in the form of capsules. Among the numerous species of mullein plants, Verbascum thapsus or the common mullein plant is very popular as a herbal remedy for a number of ailments. It is the hairy leaves (sometimes, the flowers too) of this plant, that are used mainly for this purpose. Let us take a look at some of the popular mullein leaf uses.

Mullein Leaf Benefits

One of the interesting facts about the common mullein plant is that it has around 40 names and this shows the popularity of this herb, which has been used by humans, for a very long time. While, the hairy mullein leaf and the flowers are mainly used as a herbal remedy, in some regions, even the roots are used. The health benefits of mullein leaf was recognized by humans, before thousands of years and this herb has been used in the treatment of many respiratory ailments, that range from minor cough to asthma. Mullein leaf tea and decoction were commonly used by people, to get relief from dry cough, bronchitis, other respiratory ailments, sore throat, hemorrhoids, etc. Mullein leaf tea benefits include its role as a herbal remedy for pulmonary problems, diarrhea, swelling and sore throat.

You can prepare mullein leaf tea by steeping a teaspoon of this herb in a cup of boiling water for thirty minutes. The liquid preparations made with mullein leaf have to be filtered before consumption, in order to remove the hair on the leaves. Earlier, people used to smoke dried mullein leaves, as a part of treatment for pulmonary diseases. When applied over the skin, these leaves can provide relief from minor rashes, burns and swelling. It is also said that chewing a mullein leaf can bring relief to toothache. Mullein leaf extract made in olive oil is said to be effective in relieving earache and inflammation. It is also claimed that mullein leaf has diuretic properties, that can prevent fluid retention. Mullein leaf is also said to be good immune system booster. Apart from mullein leaf, even the flowers of the plant are said to possess various health benefits and are used widely. These yellow flowers of the mullein plant have sedative, decongestant and relaxant properties.

Now you know more about mullein leaf uses, especially, the medicinal ones. Apart from that, the seeds of this herb were used as piscicides (substances that are poisonous for fish), dyes were made from the flowers, candlewicks were made from dried leaves and the dried stems were used as torches. If you want to use mullein leaf as a herbal remedy, seek the opinion of a qualified herbal practitioner and follow his instructions. Mullein leaf is considered a safe herb with almost no side effects. However, this herb may rarely cause some adverse reactions like, inflammation, hives, rash, mild breathing trouble, chest pain or tightness in the chest and tiredness. Such reactions are said to be linked with very high doses and improper usage. In case of any such symptom, discontinue its use and seek immediate medical attention. Though mullein leaf side effects are very rare, it is safer for pregnant and nursing women as well as small kids to avoid use of this herb.
By Sonia Nair
Last Updated: 9/21/2011
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