Verbascum thapsus L. - Great mullein or Common mullein

This plant always pops up in many places in my garden, so it attracted my interest. I usually let them grow when they are not too much bothering the vegetables that i am growing. This plant has many medicinal uses, oil from the flowers helps against earaches and the tea is a muscle relaxant. The leaves of the plants are also known as 'cowboy's toilet paper.'

Mullein is a pioneering plant that often is the first one to grow on a disturbed or depleted soil, even on soil that's covered with gravel. It sends its roots deep into the soil and brings minerals from there into its leaves and stalks that will benefit your soil and compost.


Scientific names: Verbascum thapsus, V. phlomoides, V. thapsiforme
Common names: Mullein also is known as American mullein, European or orange mullein, candleflower, candlewick and higtaper.

Scientific classification

Order: Lamiales
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Tribe: Scrophularieae
Genus: Verbascum L.


Its traditional uses generally have focused on the management of respiratory disorders where it was used to treat asthma, coughs, tuberculosis, and related respiratory problems. However, in its various forms, the plant has been used to treat hemorrhoids, burns, bruises, and gout.[1]

Medicinal uses

Mullein oil is a very medicinal and valuable destroyer of disease germs. The whole plant possesses slightly sedative and narcotic properties. The seeds are considered toxic. They have been historically used as a narcotic and also contain saponins. [2][3] Mullein is the active ingredient in herbal smoking mixtures.[4]


Mullein tea (of the leaves) helps relieve bronchitis, especially when accompanied by congestion, hoarseness, fever and coughing. The saponins and iridoid glycosides can help relax the bronchial tubes, loosen thick mucuc, soothe the respiratory tract and promote expectoration.[5]


An oil produced by macerating Mullein flowers in olive oil in a corked bottle, during prolonged exposure to the sun, or by keeping near the fire for several days, is used as a local application in country districts in Germany for piles and other mucus membrane inflammation, and also for frost bites and bruises. Mullein oil is recommended for earache and discharge from the ear, and for any eczema of the external ear and its canal. Dr. Fernie (Herbal Simples) states that some of the most brilliant results have been obtained in suppurative inflammation of the inner ear by a single application of Mullein oil, and that in acute or chronic cases, two or three drops of this oil should be made to fall in the ear twice or thrice in the day.[6] You can also add fresh garlic together with the mullein to the olive oil, for increased effect.


Mullein is said to be of much value in diarrhoea, from its combination of demulcent with astringent properties, by this combination strengthening the bowels at the same time. In diarrhoea the ordinary infusion is generally given, but when any bleeding of the bowels is present, the decoction prepared with milk is recommended.[7]


A decoction of the roots is used to alleviate toothache.[8]

Mullein used for dyeing

The leaves are boiled to extract a yellow to grayish green color on protein fibers. The flowers been referenced for dyeing, producing a yellow. The alum imparts the light yellow-green color.[9]


See also


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