Mullein: The World’s Most Useful Weed – Homestead Survival Site

Mullein was once known as a robust medicinal herb that treated a
variety of ailments, such as respiratory tract infections. Nowadays,
mullein is considered a bothersome weed that grows along the roadside,
but the flowers and leaves of the mullein plant are potent.

has been used since ancient times and, while the popularity has ebbed
and flowed, it’s hard to dispute the evidence that it’s an effective
treatment for many issues. Herbalists know that the leaves, roots, and
flowers can be used to treat diarrhea, asthma, coughs, and lung-related

Traditionally, mullein can be used in various forms,
including the treatment of bruises, burns, hemorrhoids, and more. You
can apply mullein topically, or you can ingest it or smoke it. In the
Appalachia region of the United States, mullein has been historically
used to treat upper airway infections.

Are you surprised? Mullein might be one of the world’s most useful weed, but it also seems to be a hidden secret as well.

What is Mullein?

is an herbaceous plant with large, grayish-green leaves and bright
yellow flowers throughout the summer. In the fall, mullein produces
egg-shaped, pale brown fruits.

Originally, mullein was native to
Asia and Europe, but it was introduced to the United States in the
1700s. Today, it is naturalized across the United States. Some people
call this plant big taper, velvet dock, and lungwort.

Properties That Make Mullein Potent

So why is mullein such a useful and strong plant? Here are a few features that you should know.

  • It has emollient and astringent properties.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It’s a disinfectant that can be used to treat internal and external infections.
  • Mullein kills bacteria.
  • It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can treat joint issues and soothe inflamed tracts in your body.

6 Medicinal Uses for Mullein

leaves and flowers are believed to act as expectorants or demulcents.
Demulcents are substances that can help soothe the irritation or
inflammation in your skin or internally in your throat, mouth, or nose.
Expectorants help to stimulate the secretion of phlegm.

Let’s take a look at a few medicinal uses of mullein.

Ear Infections

the most common use for mullein is to treat ear infections. Herbalists
recommend ear drops that contain mullein and other herbs like garlic,
calendula, St. John’s Wort, and lavender. Studies show that using
mullein to treat ear infections can help to significantly decrease pain
over a few days.

Some studies show that using mullein has a better
response than using amoxicillin. Its effectiveness could be because
mullein has emollient and astringent properties so that it can work as
effectively as anesthetic drops.

You can also use mullein oil
to treat a dog’s ear infections and other health problems. Not all
herbs are considered animal-safe, but you can use mullein on animal
friends as well.

Soothing Bursitis

you ever heard of bursitis? It’s a painful condition that involves
small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, muscles, and tendons
near your joints. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae, which are
those fluid-filled sacs. You might experience bursitis in your
shoulders, elbows, and hips.

As you might imagine, bursitis can be
excruciating, and mullein is a natural treatment. You can make a
mullein tea and soak a cloth into the tea. Then, apply that tea-soaked
cloth to the affected area to decrease inflammation.

Kills Certain Bacteria

researchers have found that mullein can kill certain types of bacteria,
including Staphylococcus aureus, which is responsible for staph

That’s why herbalists use mullein to treat a variety of infections such as bronchitis and upper respiratory tract infections.

Strong Disinfectant

oil is a strong disinfectant, so you can use it to treat internal and
external infections. You can use it to treat infections in the ears,
colon, kidneys, as well as urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast
infections. When applied externally, mullein fights infections on the

Reduce Respiratory Illnesses

you have upper respiratory problems, such as a sore throat, bronchitis,
dry cough, tonsillitis, or hoarseness, mullein tea can be used to
improve the ailments. Mullein leaves contain antioxidant and
anti-inflammatory properties that help to get rid of mucus while
soothing inflammation inside your body, such as your throat.

people, instead of using tea, prefer to smoke mullein to treat
respiratory issues, but you do need to be careful if you have asthma
issues. You can put dried mullein in a pipe and smoke it to treat chest

Treat UTIs

Many people don’t
know that you can also use mullein root to help with urinary infections
and urinary incontinence. Mullein root strengthens and tones the
trigone sphincter at the base of the bladder. Overall, taking mullein
can help to enhance the bladder function while decreasing the frequency
of urination.

At the same time, mullein root has mild astringent
properties, which can reduce inflammation in the bladder. It doesn’t
overstimulate or irritate the bladder.

7 Miscellaneous Uses for Mullein

Here are some additional uses for mullein that go beyond their medicinal uses:

Improve Your Soil Conditions

works as a nitrogen fixer, which means that it can be used to heal even
the worst of soil conditions. If you have bad soil, consider throwing
mullein in first to see if that solves the problem.


can also use mullein in addition to your compost to help fertilize your
soil. Let’s put it this way: mullein is good for your soil and it never
hurts to use it in regards to gardening.

Feed Birds

birds enjoy the seeds of mullein. Rather than simply throw the seeds to
your mullein weeds away, leave them out on your deck or place them in a
bird feeder for the local birds to enjoy.


mullein leaves make excellent tinder and kindling for getting fires
started. When you come across mullein leaves in the wild, collect and
stuff them in your pockets or in your pack. Then when the time comes to build a fire,
just strike a spark or flame onto the leaves from a magnesium flint
striker or a match. Assuming the leaves are dry, you should have no
problem getting a small fire going.

Friction Fire

stalk of mullein is surprisingly sturdy and can be used to create a
friction fire using the fire bow method. You can use the stalk for the
bow itself or for the spindle.

Shoe Cushions

can place mullein leaves inside your shoes, and they will provide
cushioning to help reduce blisters. If you ever find any mullein leaves
out in the woods while hiking or in a survival situation, don’t hesitate
to pick some up to bring with you.

Warm Your Feet

only can mullein be used to cushion your feet, it can provide essential
warmth to your feet as well. Granted, you’re probably not going to find
any mullein weeds in a winter survival scenario where there is snow on
the ground. But even in the spring or summertime when it gets cold out
at night, you can collect mullein leaves and stuff them into your shoes
or boots for additional warmth.

Preparations of Mullein

Mullein can be found in many health food stores in several forms, such as tinctures, capsules, powders, ear drops, and lozenges. You can make many of these forms yourself at home, such as tinctures.

Here are a few ways to prepare mullein.

Mullein Tea

To make your mullein tea at home, here is what you need.

  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of dried mullein leaves or flowers

the boiling water over the dried mullein and allow the mixture to steep
for 10-15 minutes. Drink the mullein tea 1-4 times per day to help kick
a sore throat or upper respiratory infection.

Mullein Tincture

tinctures is easy. Fill up a jar with vodka and soak your dried mullein
for 3-4 weeks. Leave the jar in a cool, dark place to let it steep.

strain out the tincture. Mullein tinctures can be taken 3-4 times per
day. The recommended dose is 1/4 to a 3/4 teaspoon to help beat upper
respiratory infections and other internal infections.

Mullein Oil

most popular way to use mullein is an oil that you can put into your
ears to cure ear infections. For ages 1-10 years old, apply one drop,
and for those over ten years old, use two drops of slightly warmed ear
oil 2-3 times per day.

Mullein flower oil is often mixed with
infused garlic oil, which is another naturally antibacterial and
antiviral oil. It can boost the effectiveness of this weed.

You can make mullein oil in two ways: a hot oil extraction or a cold oil extraction. Let’s look at how to use each method.

Put 1 cup of mullein flowers with 1/2 cup of olive oil
in a double glass boiler over a low flame. Slowly heat the oil over the
low flames for three hours. Then, remove the oil from the heat and
allow it to cool down. Strain the oil by using cheesecloth to remove all
of the plant parts. Store in a dark glass bottle and seal tightly.

you have plenty of time to make mullein oil, the cold extraction method
works well. All you have to do is cover dried mullein flowers in a
glass container with olive oil.
Cover with the lid and put the jar on a sunny windowsill, letting it
steep for 7-10 days. Then, strain and store it in a dark glass bottle.

Mullein Poultice

can make a poultice by grinding dried flowers and leaves into a fine
powder. Then, once you have the powder, mix with water to create a thick

Then, spread this poultice on the affected area, covering
with gauze. Some suggest covering the poultice with plastic wrap. Native
Americans heated mullein leaves and applied them directly to the skin.

Possible Side Effects

you use mullein properly, it’s unlikely to cause unwanted side effects.
Doctors have never noted a severe side effect, but there are some
isolated case reports of contact dermatitis from mullein plants.

one thing to note is that you should never use ear oil if your eardrum
is perforated. Always consult with a physician if your symptoms don’t
improve with a natural treatment.

If you’re pregnant or
breastfeeding, you might want to speak to your doctor to know if it’s
safe for you to take. There is no evidence to point to mullein being
safe or dangerous for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Final Thoughts

is one of the most useful weeds that you can grow, but it has lost its
fame over the past decades. Herbalists are working on bringing the
fantastic properties of mullein out in the forefront. More and more
people are turning to mullein ear drops as a way to cure ear infections
instead of turning to antibiotics.

Mullein doesn’t stop at ear
infections. It can be used to treat everything from coughs, sore
throats, bronchitis, asthma, and more. Use a mullein compress to treat
an external infection.

You might be surprised by how many ways
there are to tap into mullein, but it can come to the rescue. Give
mullein a try and add it to your list of go-to herbal remedies.

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