Ask the Pharmacist: Mullein has 5 tremendous medicinal benefits

Suzy Cohen

Mullein is known botanically as Verbascum thapus. It has soft fuzzy leaves as well as gorgeous yellow flowers towering at the top.

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Mullein is misunderstood and assumed to be an unwelcome weed but it simply isn’t true. Mullein has many generous offerings for us, and the medicinal properties rival that of many other so-called weeds like stinging nettle, plantain, Japanese Knotweed (resveratrol) and yarrow.

Mullein grows abundantly in July in Minnesota.

Your grandma might have even steeped the leaves of mullein to make you a cough syrup or hot tea which is great for colds and flu. This natural remedy has a strong anti-viral effect of mullein. Harvesting mullein is pretty easy, I just recommend that you get it from a trusted source where it was grown in nice, clean soil and preferably organically. You can buy the dried herb on Amazon.

Relieve ear aches

Thanks to mullein’s strong anti-inflammatory effect, it can help with ear aches and infections for humans, and possibly dogs. If you browse health food stores and e-tailers, you’ll find mullein and mullein/garlic ear drops.

Increase lymph flow

Mullein may be useful for bruises and skin infections. Some people take the large leaves and utilize them as compresses. The leaves can be picked off, and steeped gently and then when cool, applied directly on to the bruise. This reduces inflammation and pain. Likewise, an easier remedy is to purchase a cream, tincture, supplement or tea and use (or ingest) as directed according to your package. 

May reduce goiter

Mullein is a strong anti-inflammatory and has been studied for its effect in reducing glandular inflammation of the thyroid. Mullein can be extremely useful in some cases but not all, as it may help reduce goiter. Another popular supplement for goiter is iodine-iodide. Check with your doctor, but mullein dietary supplements may be useful for this. Furthermore, the beneficial compounds of mullein can be mixed into jojoba or apricot oil and rubbed onto the thyroid gland area (goiter area). FYI, another popular supplement for goiter is Iodine. 

Helps breathing

Leaves from mullein are helpful with lung congestion and mucus production. It appears to work by dilating capillaries and therefore increasing circulation. This helps relieve stagnancy and congestion making it an interesting adjunctive remedy to people with COPD, bronchitis, asthma and dry coughs.

Soothe skin, cold sores and hemorrhoids

Mullein leaves can benefit your skin and be used as a compress for external hemorrhoids, cold sores and skin wounds. One way to make use of this benefit is to make tea with a commercial tea bag or the dried herb itself. Cool the steeped liquid and apply directly to the site. I have a more comprehensive version of this article which includes a DIY recipe for a skin (hemorrhoidal) cream as well as my mullein elderberry tea recipe.

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit