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Monday, June 4, 2012

Mullein Flowers and a Folk Remedy

Welcome to the wild, and wonderful
world that is my "herb" garden!
Zinnias and Black-eyed Susan line the
garden path.
Sister Belle watches over farm
life from the shade of the Oak tree.
Morn'in, All!  Well, thank you to all that inquired about Ann and her dealings with the Copperhead.  Believe it or not, she went to work Monday morning! Ann owns Groomingdale's Pet Salon in Sulphur Springs.  She drank lots of water to flush the venom out of her system, took her prescription meds, used the Echinacea tincture for several days and has been putting Comfrey salve on her foot and wrapping it with a towel.  We are all so happy that her recovery has gone so well.  I feel this is a very good example of Modern and Folk medicine working together for the good of the patient.

This week we are actually going to spend some time foraging in the garden.  The mullein plants have been in full bloom for about 2 weeks.  So, let's learn a little about Mullein and make some Mullein infused oil.

Genus Verbascum
also known as Velvet plant


"The flowers and leaves are anodyne (relieves or soothes pain by lessening the sensitivity of the nervous system), antiseptic (agent used to remove pathogenic microorganisms and to remove pus, blood, etc.), astringent (agent that constricts and binds by coagulation of proteins a cell surface), demulcent (soothing action on inflammation, especially mucous membranes), emollient (softens and soothes the skin)expectorant (facilitates removal of secretions) and vulenary (used to heal wounds).  An infusion is used internally in the treatment of various respiratory complaints including coughs, bronchitis, asthma and throat irritations.  An infusion of the fresh or dried flowers in olive oil is used to treat earaches, sores, wounds, boils, etc.  The plant is harvested when in flower and should be dried quickly and with care or it will lose its medicinal qualities." http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net

If you make yourself a tea from the fresh mullein leaves, I would suggest straining it through a coffee filter (organic, of course) because the hairs on the leaves can be irritating.

Mullein Flowers

Historical uses.....Mullein has had an important and varied role throughout history.  The Greeks, Romans, British and Native Americans have all used mullein to treat a number of conditions, from a mild cough to bronchitis and asthma.  The dried stalks of mullein have also been used as torches.  The flowers can be used to create bright yellow or green dyes, which were used by the ancient Romans to color hair, according to "Healing Teas" by Marie Nadine Antol."  Livestrong.com article by Jonathon Thompson.  And if you are into Greek mythology...Ulysses was supposed to have carried mullein to protect himself from the evil Circe (Circe transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals through the use of magical potions.  She was known for her vast knowledge of drugs and herbs.)  Hmmm.....  Okay, now......what could have happened was that Ulysses feet hurt because of those long marches, so he padded his sandals with mullein leaves for some cushioning.  And being a Hero and All, he was probably embarrassed to tell his buds so he made up the story about the evil Circe. (My apologies to all those experts in Greek Mythology!) If you would like to read more about Ulysses and Circe here is a link... http://www.pantheon.org/articles/u/ulysses.html.
Circe and Ulysses
The hogs are Ulysses' men that
she "reportedly" turned into hogs.
Mullein Flower Ear Oil      

"Mullein flower ear oil, made with fresh live mullein flowers and unopened floral buds, is very effective for painful symptom relief from earaches caused by inspissated (thick or dense) earwax, especially in young children whose cerumen (ear wax)production and secretion is still being perfected.  Very warm (105 degree F) mullein oil is droppered into the outer ear canal. (ummm, I would not put "droppersful" in a child's ear....start with 5-10 drops every hour and for a child, I would prefer the oil to be a little cooler, say 98 degrees F)  Garlic oil is sometimes added to the mullein 

Jar filled with Mullein
flowers and buds.

earache oil.  A subsequent puddle of yellow to dark orange cerumen on the morning pillow is diagnostic for the mechanical problem of wax-impacted ear canals and a great teaching opportunity for the attending parents.  Occasionally little or no ear wax is out flooded indicating more serious ear problems, even though the warm mullein or mullein/garlic oil has reduced the pain." Ryan Drum, Herbmentor.com

Triple-oleated Mullein Flower Oil

Recipe from Kahlee Keane -  Root Woman

This is an excellent oil....if you are going to make it the old-fashion solar power way, well, it is going to take several weeks.  If you need it, like, yesterday....put oil and flowers in top of a double boiler and cook for 45 minutes (gently simmer the water in boiler). Make sure you COOL the oil. If you have the mullein
Mullein Flowers and buds read for
chopping.  I waited a few minutes to let all the
bugs escape.  I chop the herbs to a fine consistency
then put in a clean jar.  And yes, that is a cheese

flowers and the time, go ahead and do the process 2 more times....if not the first time should work.  Also, feel free to add some garlic cloves to the oil. Garlic is antiseptic and a whole lot of other herbal medicinal properties, but we will talk about that another time.

I realize the instructions say
put a lid on the jar.  Well, when I
make "infused oils"  from fresh herbs instead
of dried herbs, I always use a paper
towel over the jar.  You don't want
any water to form in your jars and
I was taught to do it this way.
Honestly, I have never had any
trouble making oils using fresh or dried
herbs, lid or paper towel, as long as I
was extra careful to make sure no water
got anywhere near my oils.
  • Collect a cupful of the fresh flowers, after the morning dew has evaporated and before the heat of the day.  (If you live in the South, that will be after the steam has evaporated and just before you faint from the heat!)
  • Put in a clean glass jar and cover with olive oil.
  • Place jar in a sunny window or outside in the sun for 10-14 days, shaking often. (or use the heat method described above, please note that I only use the heat method if I need my oil NOW, otherwise I use the old-fashioned solar method.)
  • After this time period, press and strain the oil.
  • Repeat the procedure 2 more times using the same oil to cover more freshly picked flowers (add a little more oil if needed).
  • After your final infusion, strain, cork and store the medicine in a cool dark place ready for use.  (LABEL!  Always LABEL!)
If you take care of children, pets or the elderly, I highly recommend you make yourself some of this oil or keep it handy.  It is not something you can run down to Walmart and buy.  Let me know and I will make you some Triple-oleate Mullein Oil.  

Her cheeks look a little irritated!
I think she used mullein leaf
to get that rosy glow!
Okay, enough for today.  There is a lot more information on Mullein than I can cover in the post today!  The Mullein is from Europe and Asia and has naturalized itself to the United States.  It is considered a Texas Wildflower but not a native.  "It is said the Romans dipped its dried flower stalks in animal tallow to use as torches. Victorian women rubbed the leaves on their cheeks, slightly irritating their skin, to add a dash of blush.  Early settlers and American Indians placed the soft woolly leaves in footwear for warmth and comfort"  Wildflowers of Texas Field Guide by Bowers and Tekiela

Okay, okay, I will stop now!

StarDragonfly Herb Company
"The little herb shop on Elm street"

StarDragonfly Herb Company will be opening June 15, 2012.  That is the 3rd Friday in Winnsboro, which means the stores will be open late and there will be music!  SHC will open at10 am until 8 pm that evening.  We will have speakers, herbal products, local products and local crafts for sale.  Stop by and have a glass of good old Texas ice tea with herbs added and some herbal snacks.  The snacks will be served from 6-8 pm.

The Winnsboro Farmer's Market will be having an Ice Cream Social and Homemade Ice Cream Making Contest....June 16th....for details please call.....903-629-3332.  I will have more info about this COOL event next week!  Dust off your granny's ice cream recipe and get out that old ice cream maker!  And make some ice cream!  Oh, and if you need a taste tester....pick me! pick me!

So, until later...have a lovely day, stop by the store and visit, I will put on the kettle and we will have a cup of herbal tea and a chat!  Herbally yours, Susan

Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men and animals.  Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the holly hock.
Henry Ward Beecher


  1. Your pics collection i like it and please keep update us.
    Thank you for post..

    Herbal Tea

    1. Herbal tea, Thank you so much! I am happy you enjoy the pics! I will certainly do my best to keep you updated on the wild plants and how to use them. In fact, I have just returned from a couple hour trek through the woods and have lots of new wildflower photos to share! Susan